By BERNIE DICKMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 5, 2001
When Jacinto Vasquez entered No Spend No Glow in a $4,000 claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs Jan. 19, he knew he was taking a big chance. The Hall of Fame jockey who trains from Classic Mile Park in Ocala gambled that nobody would claim a 9-year-old gelding who had raced once in nearly two years, but earned more than half a million dollars.
Vasquez was right. None of the trainers at Tampa were willing to take a shot at No Spend No Glow, who came from last to win by 43/4 lengths at 7 furlongs in 1:24 4/5. Vasquez knew his charge was eligible for starter handicaps and allowances at most tracks around the country. He picked a few races at the Oldsmar track, none of which had full fields. Finally, on Friday, nine others turned up to face No Spend No Glow in a starters' allowance at 1 1/16 miles, for 4-year-olds and up who have started for a claiming price of $5,000 or less in 2000-01. Just what Vasquez sought: A distance at which the gelding was 7-1-1 in 12 starts.
No Spend No Glow went off at 7-2 odds and didn't disappoint the believers. Jockey Mike Allen had him in last for much of the race but when he went outside the horse exploded past the field and won by 2 lengths in 1:46 1/5.
No Spend No Glow has had physical problems for two years, including a badly bowed tendon.
"Someone told me he had the ugliest ankles he's ever seen," Vasquez said.
BORN FOR IT: Gary Caple had to be a trainer. His grandfather, Hewlette, was one of the most respected in his profession in Miami in the 1960s and '70s. His father, Bill, now retired in Ocala, was at Calder when the track opened in 1971.
The youngest Caple has been training in winter at Tampa for years. He got off to a slow start this season but has gained momentum the past week.
Thursday, Caple saddled Skip Ahoy in the first race and the 3-year-old colt by Skip Trial won by 41/4 lengths under Pedro Rodriguez, paying $18.80.
In the eighth race, his Runagate lost by a neck to Lady Windham, the third straight second-place finish for the 4-year-old filly co-owned by David Goldman, Florida breeding correspondent for the Daily Racing Form.
Friday, Goldman's Provenance finished fourth at a big price in the eighth, then Caple sent out another long shot, Stalker, in the 10th. The 3-year-old colt owned by the trainer missed by a little more than a length but paid $16 to place and $8.40 to show.
Two days later, Caple sent out Wavering Rhythm for Domar Farms and the 3-year-old filly scored a $37 upset at 7 furlongs on a sloppy track.
FAVORED: It was no surprise that Burning Roma won Saturday's $50,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at 7-10 odds. The surprise was that he took the lead in the stretch and couldn't draw away by more than a length over American Prince.
Owner Harold Queen expects the son of Rubiano to start the March18 Tampa Bay Derby, where Burning Roma will be favored unless a big gun shows up from out of town.
DERBY LANE: The Cahill and O'Connor kennel won its first stakes of the season with Stan's Boy Flyer in Saturday's Matinee Idol. The favorite led wire to wire.... Marriott Kennel's BD's Phillip was the only bay area contestant to make the cut in Saturday's semifinals at Hollywood.
-- Vera Filipelli contributed to this report.