Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs | Saturday, February 22 | Post Time 4:15 PM Eastern Time

Lightning City Stakes | Purse $100,000 | Five Furlongs on Turf | Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Upward

 

Jo Jo Air (1) won at the end of December off a seven month layoff at this trip on turf at Gulfstream Park, rallying from last of six after breaking slowly, which didn't affect her one bit. Essentially, she has a record of 3-1-0 in five races, all turf sprints, because her first two starts, both poor ones are irrelevant as she wore blinkers she hasn't worn since. She won the similar non-graded Walker Stakes at Churchill Downs last April and her six workouts since raced, all on turf, show she's fit and ready to run big again. Wesley Ward is rock solid with all kinds of horses and has won with 25% of 70+ stakes starters in the past year so I expect this gal go take advantage of the rail and sit off the speedy Girls Know Best then find a place to run late and post the mild upset, opening at 6 to 1.

Still, opening at double the odds of Jo Jo Air, Thinkin Cowtown (5) has to be considered a contender as she's won six times on grass, four at this short trip, and earned over $200K on turf. Claimed for $25K by Baxter last July, the mare took three and one-half months off and returned to finish second to a very tough Lady's Island then won the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash to earn more than double what the new connections paid for her. Sent to post at 6/1 in last month's Lady's Turf Sprint, won by Jean Elizabeth over Girls Know Best, Thinkin Cowtown lost all chance when she clipped heels and just ran around the course to finish last of nine. I really like the fact Morales is getting on, as he has a strong record from minimal starts in turf sprints over the past year (5 for 14). The good middle post will help her to get a good trip, likely off a strong early pace, and considering both her races (excluding the troubled one) for Baxter have been competitive, she must be given a long look.

Jean Elizabeth (9) opens as the 3 to 1 favorite and for good reason, as she's won seven of her last eight and finished second in the other race. Only one of those was on turf but it was her most recent, the Ladies Turf Sprint at Gulfstream Park on month ago. In that race Jean Elizabeth sat in second off the speedy Girls Know Best (6) before pulling away to a half-length margin. That was her sixth straight win, all in stakes, and this "WIN TYPE" filly with 13 victories in 19 races has an "alpha" attitude about there that makes her very tough when in a battle. She may be facing the toughest group in her career here as well as has never run on the Tampa Bay sod but she has to be considered a win contender, at the least for exactas and multi-race bets we make involving this race.

Rocky Policy (4), like Thinkin Cowtown¸ opens at double digit odds (10/1 in this case) and rounds out a quartet to help make us a profit. We can ignore the off-turf stakes she ran in at the end of December, but before that she ran three 'A' races in a row, particularly the Turf Amazon Stakes in September at this distance on turf, which she won with a very nice late rally.

 

Betting Strategies:

Win Bets: Jo Jo Air (1) to win at odds of 5/2 or more.

Win bets for smaller amounts (perhaps have that of whatever we bet on Jo Jo Air) are warranted on Thinkin Cowtown (5) and Rocky Policy (4) at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Exactas:

Box Jo Jo Air (1), Rocky Policy (4), Thinkin Cowtown (5) and Jean Elizabeth (9).

Optionally, take a shot with a second exacta for two reasons, the first is having another exacta combining the four main contenders and the second is opening up the second position for horses who don't have a high probability to win but could finish second, some at high odds, as follows:

Jo Jo Air (1), Rocky Policy (4), Thinkin Cowtown (5) and Jean Elizabeth (9) over Jo Jo Air (1), Rocky Policy (4), Thinkin Cowtown (5) and Jean Elizabeth (9), Ambassador Luna (3), Girls Know Best (6), Escapade (11) and Happy Ending (14).