The Gerald Bennett show plays on at Tampa Bay Downs.
The 77-year-old trainer has the most starters (67) and the most wins (11) in the current meet. That puts him well on his way to winning his seventh consecutive training title. And last month, he became the 14th North American to cross the 4,000-win mark when Probably Grace won a claiming race by two lengths. He's also the winningest Canadian-born Thoroughbred trainer of all time.
"I was watching it when I got to 3,000," Bennett told Horse Racing Nation Wednesday. "But after a while, you know, you're just running and trying to win another race. Ship here, ship there, wherever there's races. A lot of lean times. Mostly the races that I win are horses that I try to win stake races with, horses that I bought for 17 or $25,000, or stuff like that. So the good Lord's been good to me, the harder I worked."
Bennett talked with HRN just after I'm A Cutie finished second in a $19,000 claiming race at Tampa Bay Downs, the second race of the day. He was checking on a horse he had claimed in the first race, Savvy Layla. "She was acting up bad in the gate." He won that first race with Roaring River for win No. 4,008.
Bennett provided updates on his more promising horses for the latest in HRN's Barn Tour series.
Carpenters Call. The now 4-year-old broke his maiden in December on his fourth try. "If he keeps moving forward, ran a big race off the layoff. We were always high on him, a Tourist colt."
Grumley. The now 3-year-old also broke his maiden in December on his fourth try. "If he keeps moving forward, we're looking to see as it goes and if the luck holds up, nothing happens with him," Bennett said.
Xy Speed. As a 5-year-old last year, he went on a 4-for-5 streak, with a win in the Laurel Dash Stakes. Then he finished second in two stakes at Gulfstream. "He's doing good. That last time I ran him in a stake down there at Gulfstream Park, he sat back with them and then he got in trouble behind horses and everything. So just kind of got to throw that race out." He's expected to start in the Turf Dash at Gulfstream on Feb. 19.
Beautiful Grace. She went 5-for 11 last year as a 3-year-old, finishing fourth in the black-type Abundantia Stakes at Gulfstream on New Year's Eve. "She got bothered real bad," Bennett said. "A horse come out and banged her in mid-stretch and then went down inside and come out and got her again. It's just one of them days. So I'm looking forward to having some fun with that filly, she's a really nice filly. Hopefully we can win the Lightning City here with her."
Striking Chrome. The California Chrome colt, just turned 4, finished in the money in all but two of his 12 starts last year, winning three times. "I'm looking at the the race coming up now the Wayward Lass, which is run on January the 15th."