Wednesday, March 21 2012

Pletcher Takes Two Shots at Third Spiral Stakes Win Entries to be Drawn Thursday Morning

FLORENCE, Ky., March 21, 2012 – Trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes in 2001 with Balto Star and in 2005 with Flower Alley, will be looking for his third win in the race when he sends out the uncoupled duo of Heavy Breathing and Holiday Promise.

Heavy Breathing has been perfect thus far in his career, registering a pair of main track victories at Gulfstream Park this year. But Pletcher is eager to see the son of Giant’s Causeway perform over Turfway’s all-weather surface.

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Tuesday, March 20 2012

Big Field Likely for Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes

FLORENCE, Ky., March 19, 2012 – The field for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park this Saturday is expected to fill or nearly fill the gate as trainers solidify plans for their Kentucky Derby hopefuls. The race’s $500,000 purse virtually assures the winner a spot in the Derby gate, as proved true for the 2011 Spiral Stakes and Kentucky Derby winner, Animal Kingdom.

Mr. Prankster won the first two local preps for this year’s Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, racing first at 6 1/2 furlongs and then at a mile, but he finished fourth in the third prep, the 1 1/16-mile John Battaglia Memorial on March 3. Trainer Mike Maker looks for him to rebound this Saturday.

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Wednesday, March 07 2012

Hansen Back at Turfway, Will School in the Paddock Friday

FLORENCE, Ky., March 7, 2012 – Eclipse champion and Kentucky Derby contender Hansen will school in the paddock at Turfway Park on Friday evening between the sixth and seventh races, according to the colt’s breeder and majority owner, Kendall Hansen, M.D.

Hansen is expected to be in the paddock around 8:00 p.m

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Monday, February 27 2012

Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes Nominations Rise 27%

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 26, 2012 – The 41st running of the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park closed Friday with 166 nominations, announced Racing Secretary Rick Leigh. The number represents a 26.7 percent increase over nominations received in 2011.

Graham Motion, who won the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes last year with eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) and Eclipse Award winner Animal Kingdom, has nominated five this year. Among them are four for last year’s winning owner Team Valor International, including Lucky Chappy, fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G3) and runner-up by a nose in the El Camino Real (G3); Howe Great, last-out winner of the Kitten’s Joy Stakes; and State of Play, winner last fall of the With Anticipation (G3) and probable for the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway on March 3.

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Saturday, February 25 2012

Lotta Lovin Looks for Prep Sweep in Valdale Stakes

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 24, 2011 – Lotta Lovin takes her final step toward the Bourbonette Oaks (G3) as she heads the field for Saturday’s $50,000 Valdale Stakes at Turfway Park.

The Valdale, one mile for 3-year-old fillies, is the third local prep for the March 24 Bourbonette Oaks, itself a prep for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). Lotta Lovin already scored the first two preps, taking the Gowell in December to end her 2-year-old campaign and the Cincinnati Trophy in January to begin her 3-year-old season. The Valdale will be her first try at two turns, but she won the 6 1/2 furlong Cincinnati Trophy by a seven easy lengths under leading and returning rider Victor Lebron for leading trainer Mike Maker.

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Sunday, February 12 2012

Whisked Away Upsets Likely Exchange

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 11, 2012 – Whisked Away upset the $50,000 Likely Exchange Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, earning her first trophy and giving trainer Rowena Beck her first stakes win with her first stakes entry. Luis Martinez Jr. was aboard.

Whisked Away left the inside post at 15-1, fifth choice in the field of nine older fillies and mares. She finished 1 1/4 lengths ahead of runner-up Hot Hot Mama, who was a neck better than La Gran Bailadora in third. Final time for the mile was 1:40.88.

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Second Mount, First Win for Jockey Marcelino Torres

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 11, 2012 – Apprentice jockey Marcelino Torres earned his first career win Saturday with just his second mount, guiding Luckie Chuckie from off the pace to win Turfway Park’s fifth race by 5 3/4 lengths for trainer Byron Hughes.

Born in Guerrero, Mexico, the 23-year-old Torres came to the United States in 2010 at the suggestion of his uncle, exercise rider Concepcion Torres. He joined the elder Torres at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, grooming horses for trainer John Langemeier. Two of Marcelino’s younger brothers, Ernesto and Omar, also gallop horses at the Training Center and after just two months under his uncle’s tutelage Marcelino joined their ranks.

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Sunday, February 05 2012

Mr. Prankster Gets the Distance in WEBN Stakes

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 4, 2012 – Mr. Prankster emphatically answered the two-turn question Saturday, closing strongly and drawing off to win the one-mile WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park by 7 1/2 lengths. Phantom Fury was second, 2 1/4 lengths better than Magical Season in third. Final time was 1:39.18.

In his only previous route race, the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill, Mr. Prankster was a thoroughly beaten last of 11. That race was in November, however, a lifetime ago in the development of a young colt.

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Jockey Julio Felix Hits 2,500 Win Milestone

FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 4, 2012 – Jockey Julio Felix scored career win 2,500 Saturday when he brought J. Pa home a winner in Turfway Park’s eighth race. Close to the pace through the first three furlongs in the 5 1/2 furlong starter allowance race, J. Pa challenged in mid-stretch and cleared late to win by a length over Voodoo Doctor. J. Pa went off the 6-5 favorite and finished the race in 1:05.30.

“I always give God the glory,” said Felix. “I wake up thinking about Him and I finish thinking about Him. He’s the reason why I’ve made it this far.”

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Sunday, January 29 2012

Grand Daddy Takes a Shot, Gets it Done in Forego Stakes

FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 28, 2012 – Grand Daddy lived up to his trainer’s expectations Saturday at Turfway Park, winning the $50,000 Forego Stakes by a hard-fought neck over Tend. Matthewsburg was equally game to finish between them, a head farther back in third. Final time for the 6 1/2 furlongs over Polytrack was 1:17.83.

It was the first stakes win for Grand Daddy, a 6-year-old son of Johannesburg and a full brother to dual Grade 1 winner Scat Daddy. While he had been a consistent performer in his previous 21 races, winning seven and placing in six others, Grand Daddy had not yet stepped up. He had finished second in this race two years ago and fourth last year, but trainer Tom Drury Jr. believed this was the time.

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Friday, January 27 2012

Stakes Winners Head Turfway’s Forego Stakes

FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 27, 2012 – The gate will be full Saturday at Turfway Park for the $50,000 Forego Stakes, a 6 1/2 furlong race headed by accomplished sprinters looking to regain stakes-winning form.

Matthewsburg closed to win the Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) at Turfway in September but could not repeat that outcome over sealed muddy tracks in the Jimmy V Stakes at Churchill or the Sophomore Sprint Stakes at Mountaineer. He returned to Turfway in the Holiday Cheer Stakes on New Year’s Eve, broke last in the field of 11, and finished fifth after a very wide trip. Two of the colt’s three career wins have come at Turfway, however, and he has been training well over the Polytrack, clocking :59.80 for five furlongs last Saturday in his most recent work, second-fastest of 15 at that distance that day. Victor Lebron rides for trainer Mike Maker.

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Sunday, January 22 2012

Cincinnati Trophy Win Puts Lotta Lovin on Path to Bourbonette Oaks

FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 21, 2012 – Lotta Lovin got a perfect start and a perfect trip to win the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, drawing away unchallenged to win by seven lengths over A. P. Diva. Sweetnessngoodness was third, another 1 1/4 lengths back.

Lotta Lovin’s easy win bodes well for the future that trainer Mike Maker has mapped for her. After her wins in the Gowell Stakes Dec. 26 and now the Cincinnati Trophy, Maker confirmed that he will try to sweep Turfway’s stakes series for young fillies and point her first toward the Valdale Stakes on Feb. 25 and then the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks on the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes undercard on March 24. Both of those races cover a mile. The Valdale will be Lotta Lovin’s first attempts at two turns, but Maker has confidence in her ability to handle the added distance.

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