The field for the first of Tampa Bay Downs' stakes for 3-year-olds of 2014 is coming together as 16 have been nominated for the $100,000 Pasco Stakes on Saturday, Jan. 4.
The first two under the wire in the Inaugural Stakes, Cool Cowboy and Early Entry, have been nominated along with stakes-placed Mighty Brown.
The seven-furlong Pasco kicks off the track's Kentucky Derby preps. Following the Pasco will be the 1 1/16-mile Sam F. Davis and the opening race of the Tampa Bay Downs Million Dollar Derby Bonus. The owners of any horse that wins the Sam F. Davis, $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 8 and Kentucky Derby on May 3 will collect $1 million.
Cool Cowboy, trained by Dale Bennett for Savoy Stable, has won three of his five starts with a second in his debut start and a fourth in an allowance race at Keeneland. He won the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes in 1:11.13 for six furlongs while setting the entire pace. The son of 2009 champion sprinter Kodiak Kowboy has earned $80,335.
Early Entry finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Cool Cowboy as the Inaugural runner- up after racing wide, but steadily gaining down the stretch to finish two lengths ahead of the third-place horse.
Early Entry will also be making his sixth start in the Pasco for owner Tommy Roberts Racing Stable and trainer Kathleen O'Connell. The chestnut colt has banked $45,420.
Trainer Tim Ice, who had 2009 Belmont Stakes winner Summer Bird, has nominated Mighty Brown for the Pasco. Owned by Tri-Star Racing and The Farm on 4, the chestnut colt broke his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 7 after a sixth- place result in the $1 million Delta Jackpot at Delta Downs where he was second in the Jean Lafitte Stakes.
Mighty Brown, a son of 2008 champion 3-year-old Big Brown, finished second on Sept. 7 at Louisiana Downs in the Sunday Silence Stakes. The colt has earned $98,590 in eight starts.
Trainer Wayne Catalano trains Rope a Dope for Gary and Mary West. The colt won in his first start at Kentucky Downs on turf in September with jockey Rosie Napravnik. On Oct. 20 Napravnik guided Rope a Dope to fourth in an allowance race at Keeneland as the 2-1 favorite. The colt won his last start on Dec. 14 at Gulfstream Park with Corey Lanerie riding. Rope a Dope has earned $83,000 in his three starts with two wins.
Post positions for the Pasco will be drawn Wednesday, Jan. 1.