Swift Warrior made up for a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Stakes (G3) in 2012 by taking down top prize in the race in this year’s renewal on Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs.
Owned by James Covello and James Dolan and trained by John Terranova II, Swift Warrior wore down the pacesetters in the stretch and held the late rally by race favorite Doubles Partner at bay to score over a turf course labeled good. He covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.14. It was his sixth win from 20 starts. First-place money of $90,000 raised his career earnings to $430,843.
Three weeks earlier, Swift Warrior had won his previous start, the Grade 3 John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park in Houston, also under Jose Espinoza. And the Tampa Bay Stakes was the third graded triumph since Jan. 26 for the pairing of Terranova and Espinoza, who also teamed to win the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs with Falling Sky on Feb. 2.
“This horse (Swift Warrior) is my best friend. He is a real professional,” Espinoza said. “If we need speed he has it; if we decide to wait on the speed like today, he will do that. I was able to wait with him until the final turn and he made a response there that won us the race. All he needed was a clear path, and we had that.”
Swift Warrior paid $7.20 as the second betting choice.
Swift Warrior/Cooley photo