Tampa Bay Downs is proud to introduce its blog for the 2012-13 season, “Racing in the Sunshine.” By giving visitors an up-close and personal look at the majestic world of Thoroughbred racing, the sport’s participants – racing officials, horsemen, backstretch workers, trainers, jockeys and track employees – hope to entertain and inform fans everywhere.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Jason DaCosta, Trainer
A Tampa Bay Downs insider’s opinions, observations
about their favorite sport
Gradually, but with unwavering purpose, DaCosta is emerging
from the shadow cast by his father, perennial-leading Jamaican trainer Wayne
DaCosta. The 27-year-old Tampa Bay Downs newcomer was his father’s assistant
for five years, but his memories of accompanying the Jamaican Hall of Fame
conditioner to his CaymanasPark barn date to early
childhood. After two years in college studying business administration, Jason
arrived in the United States
in 2009. Despite slow going his first two seasons, he has emerged as a force to
be reckoned with in Florida.
At the current meet, he has saddled eight winners and four runners-up from 18 starters.
His 5-year-old gelding Silver Cloud finished second in the recent $75,000 Turf
HOMETOWN: Kingston, Jamaica.
BEST HORSE I EVER
TRAINED: My first horse, a Florida-bred filly named Miss Aristocrat owned
by my father. She won her first two races at Calder in 2009 and was third here
in the Gasparilla Stakes and second in the Suncoast Stakes.
HOW I GOT STARTED IN
RACING: Being around my father and his horses since I was a baby.
MY BIGGEST INFLUENCE:
Again, my father. He is the best horseman I know. He taught me to be hands-on,
check all my horses every day and not to cut corners.
ONE CHANGE I WOULD
MAKE TO RACING: Establish more aftercare programs for retired racehorses.
These animals bring us so much pleasure, and I’d like to see as many as possible
rehabilitated and pointed toward second careers, not neglected or mistreated.
MY FAVORITE ATHLETE:
My countryman, Usain Bolt. He dominated at the last two Olympics, and he was
the first man to win gold in the 100 and 200 meters and the 4x100 relay.
NO. 1 ON MY BUCKET
LIST: Winning a Breeders’ Cup race.
WHAT ELSE I’D BE
DOING IF. … This is what I’ve always wanted to do. I really haven’t thought
of anything else.
BETWEEN JAMAICAN AND U.S. RACING:On
race days, the fans back home are a lot more passionate. You see guys on street
corners with a transistor radio pressed to their ear, the stands are packed and
there are off-track betting parlors everywhere.
FAVORITE THINGS ABOUT
TAMPA BAY DOWNS: The track is an excellent surface to train on, the
atmosphere is quiet and laid-back and the people are friendly.
SHOW: Secretariat and The Big Bang Theory.
ADVICE TO SOMEONE
STARTING IN RACING: Keep at things and work hard. It’s a tough game with a
lot of ups and downs, but hard work does pay off.