By BERNIE DICKMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 9, 2001
Nearly three decades ago, Waldemar Farms in Williston was sitting on top of the racing world. Owner Howard Sams and his son Tim had the great stallion What a Pleasure, who was the sire of 1975 Kentucky Derby winner Foolish Pleasure and one of 1976's best 3-year-olds, Honest Pleasure.
After Howard died, Tim sold the farm to New Englander Gilbert Campbell, who began a quest to make a great stallion of his own, Sword Dance. The son of Nijinsky II has sired Marlin, a winner of $2,448,880 and Florida's ninth all-time money earner, and Blazing Sword, who has earned $1,168,128. Both were bred by Campbell, who raced Blazing Sword but sold Marlin.
Sword Dance has sired many other good stakes winners, including Dance For Thee, who earned $614,704. Saturday, Campbell and trainer Kathleen O'Connell took the next step with the 3-year-old Sword Dance filly The Goddess Athird, who went into the $50,000 Pinellas Stakes on the grass riding a two-race winning streak.
After posting two seconds and two thirds in her first six starts up north, The Goddess Athird moved to Tampa Bay Downs and broke her maiden at a flat mile on the grass, then won again at the same distance.
The Pinellas was the filly's first stakes effort. With Dante Scocca riding for the third time, The Goddess Athird went to the lead at the start and nursed it for a mile and 1/16, winning by a neck over Chausson Poire. She was clocked in 1:43:08, paid $7 and has a 3-2-1 record in six turf events.
POISED TO SCORE: When Corinas Poise arrived at Tampa Bay Downs from Hoosier Park to prepare for the meeting, she was coming off a disappointing 2000 (1-for-19). The Florida-bred daughter of Regal Humor had been having trouble finishing in recent races.
In her first start of the new year, Feb. 1, Terry Houghton guided her to a 21/2-length victory, and she was claimed out of the race for $4,000 by trainer William Mitchell for owner Chris Gatis. Mitchell immediately raised her to $8,000 claiming company, and the 7-year-old mare responded with a six-length score going 51/2 furlongs. After losing a tough decision to males by a head in a $4,000 starter allowance, Corinas Poise came back to win against fillies, scoring 41/4 lengths in a $5,000 starter allowance.
On April 1, Corinas Poise made it four out of five for the season with a 51/4-length victory, going 51/2 furlongs in $13,000 allowance company. It raised her career record to 10-12-7 in 54 starts and her earnings to $83,053 while capping a memorable afternoon for Mitchell and Gatis. They also won the third race with Sky Glory and the fifth with Clancy Clan. WORTH MANY PENNIES: Jim and Nancy Gammon of Ocala have raced horses at Tampa Bay Downs for many years. Saturday, they were at Hialeah Park to watch their graded stakes-winning 3-year-old filly Penny Blues compete in the $100,000 Poinciana Breeders' Cup Handicap, the race before the $250,000 Flamingo Stakes.
Penny Blues was bred by the Gammons, who raced the daughter of Pentelicus in partnership with Buffalo Wallet, the nom de course of Don Johnson of Miami Vice and Nash Bridges fame. Jim Gammon is an actor and plays Nash Bridges' father on the show.
Penny Blues ran her heart out at Hialeah but was second, a little more than a length behind March Magic, runner-up in the Florida Oaks in Oldsmar last year. March Magic, who had won her previous start at Gulfstream in February, raced seven furlongs in a sizzling 1:21 4/5, so Penny Blues' effort was quite respectable.
OUTOFTHEBOX OUT OF DERBY: Outofthebox, who finished fifth in the Flamingo Stakes, sustained an injury to his right hind foot during the race and will miss the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, assistant trainer Steve Flint said.
Outofthebox may have been injured on the first turn by another horse stepping on him from behind, Flint said.
"It doesn't appear that it's real serious, but it is bad enough to keep him out of action for at least two months," Flint said.
Meanwhile, Flamingo winner Thunder Blitz will try for a slot in the Derby, trainer Joe Orseno said. Thunder Blitz, son of Holy Bull, won by 63/4 lengths in 1:48 1/5.
Orseno said he thinks the colt's earnings will qualify him for the Derby.
"It looks like Point Given might keep the field under the (20-horse) limit," Orseno said.
Point Given, the Derby favorite, won the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday.
DERBY LANE: Dominator, named captain of the eight-greyhound All-America team March 21 by the American Greyhound Track Operators Association, will receive the Rural Rube award for best sprinter and the Flashy Sir award for best distance runner April 26 at the Greyhound Hall of Fame in Abilene, Kan. Dominator is the first greyhound in the awards' 29 years to win all three. ... Of the All-Americans named for outstanding performances in 2000, four raced at Derby Lane, including last year's win leader, JB Junior B of Ryan Farms Kennel; BD's Phillip from the Marriott Kennel, and Saturday night's Distance Classic finalist Greys Free Bird of the Greymeadow Kennel. Free Bird is the only female on the team. ... Derby Lane will present the All-Americans at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Dominator will make his last appearance. There will be free admission and Dominator T-shirts to the first 1,500. The greyhounds and their trainers will join fans on the tarmac after the presentation. Dominator will leave Florida for the Kansas ceremony and retire at Ryan's Farm.
-- Correspondent Vera Filipelli and Times wires contributed to this report.