R Angel Katelyn wins the Juvenile Filly Sprint by a half-length over Wildcat Kate

R Angel Katelyn wins the Juvenile Filly Sprint by a half-length over Wildcat Kate

Coglianese Photos

Averill's R Angel Katelyn Set for Florida Cup Day

R Angel Katelyn co-highweight in April 2 Sophomore Filly Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

A number of top products of Florida's breeding industry will be on display for the 14th renewal of the Florida Cup April 2 at Tampa Bay Downs, an afternoon that will feature six $100,000 stakes restricted to Florida-breds.

While there will be a strong presence from stables racing in South Florida, a Tampa Bay local, R Angel Katelyn, is among the top horses entered in the $100,000 Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Filly Stakes at seven furlongs.

Owned by Richard Averill's Averill Racing, CCF Racing Stable, and K Lauren Racing, R Angel Katelyn is trained by Gerald Bennett, who met Averill, in part, because his seat at Tampa Bay is located near the owner's seat.

"Rich has a box next to mine here at Tampa," Bennett said, "and it was only natural we would talk horses. (Averill) had other trainers when we first met, but one day he said he liked a horse that was in that day and wanted to claim him. He asked me if I wanted to train the horse for him. We took the horse, did some good with him, and eventually our relationship grew, and we wound up with more horses for him and his partners."

As time went on, Averill, who heads a construction and masonry company in Bradenton, Fla., expanded his involvement in the game to include purchasing young horses at sales. While Averill had an agent, he called upon Bennett for assessments and observations of sale horses in recent years. 

While in Ocala last year for the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. June sale of 2-year-olds and horses of racing age, Bennett saw R Angel Katelyn, by High Cotton, for the first time and knew this was a horse they had to have.

"She had beautiful lines. She had a great way of going, but more than that, she just had a presence about her that was something special," the trainer explained. "She was like a kid that was a grade ahead of the other kids and while she was a filly, she looked like a colt."

Averill's business plan with young horses concentrates almost solely on fillies and he sets price parameters. Bennett said his owner had a $35,000 evaluation on the High Cotton filly out of the winning Southern Halo mare Send for an Angel who was bred by Craig Wheeler. But Bennett told Averill that if he had to bring in some partners and go higher to get the filly, he needed to do that.

Averill brought in CCF Racing Stable and K Lauren Racing as partners and when the gavel fell they purchased the filly for $50,000. Barry Berkelhammer, agent, signed the ticket for the filly who was consigned by her breeder.

"I knew if we took her home and didn't have any bad luck with her, she was going to turn out to be more than worth the money." Bennett said.

After winning a maiden race at first asking at Delaware Park in September, R Angel Katelyn has won three of five starts—including three stakes—and has amassed earnings of $217,120. In the two races she didn't win, she earned placings—one second and one third. Bennett thinks she fits well in Sunday's seven-furlong test that has drawn eight other 3-year-old, Florida-bred fillies.

At 122 pounds, R Angel Katelyn and stakes winner Lirica are the co-highweights in the Sophomore Fillies Stakes.

Win, lose, or draw, R Angel Katelyn will probably get time off after Sunday's race, as Bennett noted this will be her fifth race since mid-November.

Bennett is mulling over choices as to where he will base his operations this summer. As one of Bennett's top owners, Averill's plans will have a strong impact. Last summer the horseman headquartered at Delaware and he had a good meeting, finishing third in the trainer's standings, but the Florida-bred bonus program funds may be the deciding factor that will see Tampa's current leading trainer heading south this summer to Gulfstream Park.

"I've got 10 horses with Rich now and that may expand if we race at Gulfstream Park," Bennett said. "I have some other owners who have talked about sending me horses if I'd race in Miami in the past, plus it's very expensive to move a stable 1,100 miles. The logistics of shipping, relocating the help, and so many other things is just making it tougher and tougher to make big moves every six months. The Florida-bred money, plus the fact they write state-bred maiden special weight and allowance races makes racing there an attractive option.

Entries: Hilton Garden Inn/Hampton Inn and Suites Sprint S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 2

  • STK
  • 6f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 12:45 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Minute Madness (FL)Daniel Centeno116Jennifer A. Hayford- Quinones30/1
22Early Entry (FL)Ronald Dale Allen, Jr.122Kathleen O'Connell3/2
33Tiger Blood (FL)Pablo Morales122Darien Rodriguez2/1
44Delta Bluesman (FL)Jose L. Ortiz118Jorge Navarro9/5
55Palace Barista (FL)Dean P. Butler116Raymond E. Stifano20/1
66One Lucky Step (FL)Edwin Gonzalez118Gerald S. Bennett8/1

Entries: EG Vodka Turf Classic S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 4

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 1:45 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Go Around (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose Lezcano116William I. Mott2/1
22Two Step Time (FL)Jose L. Ortiz116Michael J. Maker6/1
33Favorite Heir (FL)Tyler Gaffalione116Lilli Kurtinecz15/1
44World Approval (FL)Julien R. Leparoux116Mark E. Casse3/5
55Tutti Sanno (FL)Samy Camacho116Reid Nagle30/1
66Act of Madness (FL)Scott Spieth116Kathleen O'Connell30/1
77Allie's Event (FL)Fernando De La Cruz116Lori A. Smock20/1

Entries: Ocala Breeders' Sales Sophomore S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 5

  • STK
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 2:15 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11The Cookie Man (FL)Pablo Morales116Teresa Connelly4/1
22Reason to Soar (FL)Jose L. Ortiz116George Weaver5/2
33Do Yahwanna Salsa (FL)Edwin Gonzalez116Gerald S. Bennett8/1
44Classic Cotton (FL)Jose Lezcano116Troy S. Wismer9/2
55Mo Cash (FL)Tyler Gaffalione118Ronald B. Spatz2/1
66Cottle and Cuddle (FL)Scott Spieth116George S. Bush20/1
77Salute With Honor (FL)Julien R. Leparoux116Mark E. Casse8/1

Entries: 14 Hands Winery Sophomore Turf S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 8

  • STK
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 3:50 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Prize Fight (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Gaffalione116Michael J. Maker6/1
22Two Steps Before (FL)Edwin Gonzalez116Victor Carrasco, Jr.15/1
33Dr. Corday (FL)Jose Lezcano116Kiaran P. McLaughlin8/1
44Squadron (FL)Javier Castellano122Todd A. Pletcher5/2
55Dont Come Knockin (FL)Carlos Montalvo116Angel M. Rodriguez15/1
66In Closing (FL)Jose L. Ortiz116Christophe Clement2/1
77Muggsamatic (FL)Ronald Dale Allen, Jr.116Kathleen O'Connell5/1
88General McGooby (FL)Julien R. Leparoux116Lilli Kurtinecz8/1

Entries: Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 9

  • STK
  • 7f
  • Dirt
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo Fillies
  • 4:20 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Ashleys Magens Bay (FL)Fernando De La Cruz116Forrest Kaelin10/1
22Star Gala (FL)Daniel Centeno118Ian Hemingway12/1
33Yes I'll Go (FL)Javier Castellano118Armando De la cerda3/1
44Sealed With a Kiss (FL)Tyler Gaffalione116William B. Bradley12/1
55Sadie Be Good (FL)Jose Lezcano116Kiaran P. McLaughlin7/2
66Lirica (FL)Jose L. Ortiz122Antonio Sano8/1
77R Angel Katelyn (FL)Edwin Gonzalez122Gerald S. Bennett2/1
88Karen Sue (FL)Pablo Morales116Kathleen O'Connell15/1
99Joel's Senorita (FL)Jose C. Ferrer116Dennis Ward20/1

Entries: Pleasant Acres Stallions Distaff Turf S.

Tampa Bay Downs, Sunday, April 02, 2017, Race 10

  • STK
  • 1 1/16m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
  • 4:50 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11My Girl Corey (FL)Tyler Gaffalione119Chad C. Brown5/2
22Bonita (FL)Daniel Centeno119Chad J. Stewart20/1
33Frosty Friday (FL)Julien R. Leparoux119Mark E. Casse8/1
44Family Meeting (FL)Jose L. Ortiz123Thomas F. Proctor6/1
55Royal Jewely (FL)Edwin Gonzalez119Gerald S. Bennett5/1
66Somethingelse (FL)Javier Castellano119Leo Azpurua, Jr.10/1
77Quality Rocks (FL)Jose Lezcano119William I. Mott3/1
88Evidently (FL)Jesus Lopez Castanon119Roy S. Lerman9/2