Sunday, September 25, 2011

Matthewsburg Earns First Graded Stakes in Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint

FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 24, 2011 – Matthewsburg came from off a hot pace in the $100,000 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday to earn his first graded stakes trophy.

His victory was the fourth of five on the day for trainer Mike Maker, a Turfway Park record, and the fourth on the card for jockey Victor Lebron.

After the first two furlongs of the six-furlong race, Matthewsburg was eighth among the 11 3-year-olds in the race but less than six lengths from the front. He gained steadily, coming outside to be fourth after four furlongs, taking the lead with a furlong to go, and then coming home 2 1/4 lengths ahead of Philippe under strong handling. Matthewsburg drifted a bit before stopping the clock in 1:10.28.

Philippe turned in a gutsy performance, keeping up with the sizzling quarter-mile pace set in :21.96 by Song of Humor and pressing the equally hot :45.13 half-mile pace set by Will’s Wildcat. Will’s Wildcat faltered slightly and finished third, a head behind Philippe.

“I had a perfect trip,” said Lebron. “I rode this horse in his maiden and (in the East Hanover Stakes) at Penn National, where he ran second, so I know him pretty well. He drew off and won pretty easy. He tries to get out a little bit so I let him do what he wants and not take too much of a hold.”

Behind Will’s Wildcat came Song of Humor, Ronin Dax, the 2-1 favorite Cal Nation, Chilled, Lou Brissie, Big Albert, Unsaddled Glory, and Free Entry.

Matthewsburg was the bettors’ sixth choice at 9-1 and returned $20.60, $9.60, and $5.40.

A son of Ghostzapper out of Romantic Comedy, by A. P. Indy, Matthewsburg is owned by Thomas and Matt Conway. He has earned $123,609 in 10 career starts and has three wins and one second.

La Gran Bailadora Sweeps to Graded Win in Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff

La Gran Bailadora roared from last to first in the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday, flying home late to defeat Bella Medaglia by a length. Kiss Mine was third, eight lengths behind Bella Medaglia.

Final time for the 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares was 1:44.90.

High Quality set the first quarter in :24.48 before Persuading took over to set the half-mile mark in :48.43 and the six-furlong mark in 1:12.73. Bella Medaglia was close to the leaders through the early going and the race appeared to be hers for the taking after she gained the lead from Persuading coming into the stretch. La Gran Bailadora had been last of seven after six furlongs, and while she poured in on coming around the final turn to be second at the top of the stretch, she was still five lengths behind Bella Medaglia at that point. But the 4-year-old filly kept coming and edged away from the eventual runner-up late in the stretch.

The win was the fifth on the day for trainer Mike Maker, a Turfway Park record for most wins in a single day.

“You always go in with confidence when you ride for Mike,” said winning rider Corey Lanerie. “I was last early, and then just kind of got her out on the turn and she was best today. Once we got to the 3/8ths pole, I knew I had them. When I got to the filly on the lead I was a little concerned because she put up a fight, but my horse got by her and pulled away.”

Kiss Mine was followed by Persuading, High Quality, Ailalea, and the even-money favorite Upperline, who was described by jockey Joe Talamo as simply outrun.

La Gran Bailadora was the bettors’ second choice at 4-1 and paid $10.40, $5.20, and $3.20.

Owned and bred by Tracy Farmer, La Gran Bailadora is by Afleet Alex out of the Affirmed mare Affirmed Dancer. She came in to the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff with three wins, a second, and third in five starts at Turfway, and Maker plans to keep her on Polytrack. Her next start may be the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes at Keeneland.

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