Trainer Kathleen O'Connell had a hard time expressing her admiration for jockey Antonio Gallardo's performance after he completed his five-victory effort today with a six-and-a-quarter length victory aboard her 3-year-old Florida-bred gelding Real Fast Music in today's eighth race at Tampa Bay Downs.
“What can you say about that?” said O'Connell, who has been instrumental in helping the 30-year-old Spaniard climb the ladder of success.
Indeed. The track's leading jockey increased his victory total for the meeting to 51, 14 more than runner-up Daniel Centeno, while riding five winners for the fourth time in his Oldsmar career.
Can he keep it going? “I will try my best all the time,” said Gallardo, who has been the track's leading jockey three times. “To win five is awesome. I felt confident with all my horses today, that they were in good spots (he finished off the board in two races). I feel like I'm home again,” added Gallardo, who returned to Oldsmar this season after riding elsewhere last season.
Gallardo said he has won six in a single day, with four coming at Presque Isle Downs and two at nearby ThistleDown.
This was the eighth time he has ridden three (or more) winners at the current meeting.
Gallardo's sterling exhibition began in the first race aboard Get a Room, a 5-year-old Florida-bred homebred mare owned by Ups and Downs Racing and trained by Monte T. Thomas. Gallardo next won the third race on the turf on Faster N Blazes, a 3-year-old filly owned by Faron McCubbins and trained by J.K. Sweezey.
His next two victories displayed his ongoing development as a versatile rider. In the sixth race, he urged 6-year-old Florida-bred gelding Evolution to the lead quickly after the break, then got him to relax enough to post a three-and-a-half length victory in the 6-furlong event for owner Lawson Racing Stables and trainer Ralph Ziadie.
Gallardo, who suffered a bruised leg in a spill Sunday, was also masterful in the seventh race on the turf. Breaking from the No. 4 post on 4-year-old colt King Ofthe Channel, he sat in third place while Mizzen Lynx shot to a 10-length lead up the backstretch.
Gallardo remained unfazed after Ruckus surged into the runner-up spot approaching the far turn in the 1-mile contest, and when the “real” running started, King Ofthe Channel possessed sufficient energy to post a length-and-a-quarter victory from Ruckus.
“I had to forget about what the leader was doing up front, or I might have moved too early,” Gallardo said.
But most likely, not today.
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