Sunday, February 22 2009

Jockey Musarro gets first career win

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 22, 2009 . . . Apprentice jockey Joe Musarro, 17, earned his first career win Sunday when he guided Heavenly Surprise to a 5 1/2-length score in Turfway Park’s seventh race, a claiming event for fillies and mares three years old and up.

Breaking from post six in the field of seven, Heavenly Surprise jumped immediately to the lead, was taken back by Musarro to race in third, and then regained the lead at the top of the turn before easily drawing away in the stretch. The mare finished the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:07.08 and paid $9.20 as the 7-2 second choice.

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Lane’s End nominations total 112

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 22, 2009 . . . The 38th renewal of the Grade II Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park has drawn 112 nominations, announced Racing Secretary Richard S. Leigh. For three-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles, the Lane’s End Stakes is scheduled for Saturday, March 21. The race traditionally is run six weeks before the first Saturday in May as a prep for the Kentucky Derby (G1), and its $500,000 purse virtually guarantees the winner a spot in the Derby field should more than 20 seek to enter.

The winners of both local preps run to date are nominated to the Lane’s End. Loch Dubh, trained by Jeff Talley for Texas Toyco, won the Turfway Prevue sprint in January, and Parade Clown, trained by Katherine Ball for Donamire Farm, was nominated on the strength of his win in the WEBN Stakes. (The third local prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, will run February 28.)

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Saturday, February 21 2009

Walloon steps up to stakes win in Valdale

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 21, 2009 . . . Walloon stepped up to two turns and earned her first stakes trophy Saturday at Turfway Park, taking the $50,000 Valdale Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths.

Karacuda jumped out quickly to set the pace, followed closely by the 3-2 favorite, Tacky Cat. Breaking from the inside post under jockey Hector Rosario Jr., Walloon went at the leaders briefly before settling back to mid-pack along the rail. Rosario moved her off the rail leaving the final turn and made a four-wide run past the tiring leaders. She’s Due closed from far back to take second. Three-quarters of a length farther back was Satans Quick Chick, who had trailed the field early.

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Jockey Billy Troilo gets career win 2,500

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 21, 2009 . . . Jockey Billy Troilo earned his 2,500th career win Saturday when he guided Sabeeb to a two-length victory in the sixth race at Turfway Park.

The milestone win came one race after Troilo earned win number 2,499 with Queen of Victory. He added win number 2,501 in the eighth race aboard Overdrive.

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Friday, February 20 2009

Fillies up for rematch in Valdale Stakes

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 20, 2009 . . . The top three finishers of the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes will be back at Turfway Park Saturday to face off again in the $50,000 Valdale Stakes. Carded for three-year-old fillies, the one-mile Valdale is the second of two local preps for the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks, itself a prep for the Grade I Kentucky Oaks.

Tacky Cat drew off to win the 6 1/2-furlong Cincinnati Trophy by an easy six lengths, and while the Valdale will be her first attempt at two turns, her willingness to sit off the pace may help her take that next step. Orlando Mojica is back aboard for trainer Wayne Mogge.

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Sunday, February 15 2009

A year after cancer diagnosis, Justin Vitek returns

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 14, 2009 . . . He was not the jockey in the winner’s circle, but no jockey in any race on any day was a bigger winner than Justin Vitek after Turfway Park’s 10th race Saturday. His mount on Model’s Memo was his first since being diagnosed with myelogenous leukemia almost exactly a year ago, February 16, 2008.

Model’s Memo, herself off since July, dropped back as usual but could not come up with a closing rally and finished last. The result had no impact on the light in Vitek’s eyes or the excitement of well-wishers gathered around him.

“It felt great,” Vitek said. “She broke a little tardy and got slammed, so it kind of took her out of her game, but it was the first time back—for both of us.

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Friday, February 13 2009

Brass Hat returns in Dust Commander

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 12, 2009 . . . Millionaire grade I winner Brass Hat returns to racing this Saturday in the $50,000 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park, his first start in eight months.

After finishing fifth behind Curlin in the Stephen Foster last June, Brass Hat returned from a work with a minor injury, and trainer William “Buff” Bradley elected to turn a few weeks’ recovery into an extended vacation.

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Sunday, February 08 2009

Parade Clown settles down, wins WEBN Stakes

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 7, 2009 . . . Parade Clown got a wise ride from veteran rider Bill Troilo Saturday at Turfway Park to take home the $50,000 WEBN Stakes trophy. It was the first stakes win for the son of Distorted Humor and a decisive step toward the Lane’s End Stakes next month.

Music City, the 2-1 favorite, rocketed out of the gate to get the early lead, while Parade Clown, a bit green, pushed up from fourth to within half a length of the lead heading into the backstretch. Troilo settled him down, and when Music City moved suddenly to open up a three or four length lead down the backstretch, Parade Clown let him go.

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Unspoken Word cruises to Likely Exchange win

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 7, 2009 . . . Unspoken Word got the lead early and easily and finished the same way, taking the $50,000 Likely Exchange Stakes by five lengths Saturday at Turfway Park. The five-year-old mare proved the bettors right, paying $3.00 as the 1-2 favorite.

Wellofaprize was second, a photo-finish neck ahead of Solarana in third.

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Thursday, February 05 2009

Double feature at Turfway Saturday with Likely Exchange, rescheduled WEBN stakes

FLORENCE, KY . . . February 5, 2009 . . . The field for the rescheduled $50,000 WEBN Stakes this Saturday grew to 12 when entries were retaken Wednesday, and additional early speed adds new possibilities to the mile contest for three-year-olds.

Bill Hembrecht trainee Music City, who thoroughly dominated the two most recent of his three career starts, should be right out front. He won his last race, a mile allowance at Turfway, by five lengths and was never challenged.

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Saturday, January 31 2009

Turfway cancels Saturday card

FLORENCE, KY . . . January 31, 2009 . . . Turfway Park has canceled live racing for Saturday, January 31, citing several days of snow and ice and deep cold overnight that created stubborn clods in the track surface.

“The surface could not be ready in time for racing despite delaying post time by an hour,” said track president Robert Elliston, “and if we can’t make the surface safe for our riders and horses, we won’t run.”

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Turfway quarantine lifted; no evidence of EHV-1 found

FLORENCE, KY . . . January 31, 2009 . . . The quarantine imposed on Barn 17 at Turfway Park Friday, January 30, was lifted Saturday morning after samples from a horse euthanized at the track Friday tested negative for equine herpes virus (EHV-1) and other communicable disease.

In an e-mail message to track president Robert N. Elliston and state staff members, E. S. “Rusty” Ford, equine programs manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office, reported, “Testing conducted by Steve Sells, UK LDDC Molecular Biologist, to determine if an equine herpes virus was the cause for the abnormal neurologic presentation have concluded. Multiple specimens were tested by PCR with each proving negative for EHV.

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