Sunday, January 04 2009

Loch Dubh makes the leap to stakes winner in Turfway Prevue

FLORENCE, KY . . . January 3, 2009 . . . Loch Dubh proved himself a good investment Saturday at Turfway Park, drawing off to win the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes in his second start off a $15,000 claim at Churchill Downs.

Asked what prompted the claim, trainer Jeff Talley said, “He’s a big, good-looking horse. We watched him in the paddock every race at Churchill, and then [trainer Eddie Kenneally] ran him for thirty [thousand]. I was mad I didn’t take him that day.”

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Friday, January 02 2009

Turfway Park daily averages up for holiday meet

FLORENCE, KY . . . January 2, 2009 . . . Turfway Park closed its 2008 Holiday Meet with slight increases in average daily handle both on-track and from all sources. Daily on-track wagering on Turfway races was $127,992, an increase of 0.3 percent, while daily all-sources wagering on Turfway races was $2,775,799, up 1.8 percent.

“In light of the current economy, we are pleased to post even slight gains in activity,” said Turfway Park president Robert N. Elliston. “I’ve seen blog comments that argue who’s more important to tracks today, players or fans. We don’t answer the question as either-or but as both. For players, our horsemen allowed us to offer attractive field sizes—10.4 compared to 10.1 last year. Additionally, we promoted the value of Turfway payoffs and provided information on playing our Polytrack surface.

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Thursday, January 01 2009

Turfway Prevue could be first look at Lane’s End

FLORENCE, KY . . . January 1, 2009 . . . The first stakes race of Turfway Park’s new winter/spring meet is also the first chance to gauge hopefuls for the Lane’s End Stakes later in the meet. Saturday’s $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes, written for three-year-olds racing 6 1/2 furlongs, is the first of three local prep races for the Lane’s End, which is in turn a major prep for the Kentucky Derby.

Rudy Flyer will make his second career start in the Turfway Prevue after winning his first race, a maiden special weight, by 8 3/4 lengths. That front-running win came at Turfway at the Turfway Prevue distance and earned the colt the top Equibase pace and speed figures among the Prevue field. Rudy Flyer is trained at Turfway by Bill Connelly, who finished second in the just-completed holiday meet standings, and again will be ridden by John McKee.

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Tuesday, December 30 2008

Turfway winter/spring meet starts New Year’s Day

"FLORENCE, KY . . . December 29, 2008 . . . Live Thoroughbred racing continues at Turfway Park with the opening of the winter/spring meet on January 1, immediately after the closing of the holiday meet on December 31. The 69-day winter/spring meet ends April 2

Live racing will run Wednesday through Sunday each week as well as on three Mondays: January 19, February 16, and March 16. Other Mondays and all Tuesdays are dark.

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Saturday, December 27 2008

Officer Rocket works Holiday Cheer to his advantage

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 27, 2008 . . . Officer Rocket worked speed both ways in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, ignoring a fiery pace early and then zooming up the rail late to win by a length. Rouse the Cat, favored at 2-1, was second, with Golden Country a neck back in third.

The win capped a fine day for Officer Rocket’s connections. His savvy performance was the third win on the day for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker and the fourth for jockey Orlando Mojica.

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Friday, December 26 2008

Turfway to make up canceled races

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 26, 2008 . . . To make up nine races lost to a full-card cancellation last Sunday, Turfway Park will add races to its holiday live racing schedule beginning Friday, December 26.

The track traditionally runs a holiday schedule of 10 races daily from the day after Christmas to the end of the year, including Monday and Tuesday should they fall in that timeframe.

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Wednesday, December 24 2008

Holiday Cheer draws a dozen

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 23, 2008 . . . Turfway Park caps the Holiday Meet stakes schedule this Saturday with the $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes, a six-furlong sprint that drew a full field of 12.

Rouse the Cat brings an impressive record to his first start at Turfway. In 13 starts this year he has 10 in-the-money finishes, including five wins. He raced in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, finishing 12th of 14, but before that was second in the Grade II Nearctic on turf and afterward was again second in the Grade III Kennedy Road Stakes on Polytrack, both at Woodbine. Trainer Ollie Figgins III trains. Regular rider Christopher VanHassel is back aboard.

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Sunday, December 21 2008

Step Out Smartly steps up to Gowell win

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 20, 2008 . . . Step Out Smartly stepped up from maiden winner to stakes winner at Turfway Park Saturday, coming from far back to take the $50,000 Gowell Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths. Lady’s Laughter led into the stretch and stayed in for second, three lengths ahead of 2-1 favorite Emma Darling, who stumbled out of the gate.

Queen of Victory took the lead from Karacuda shortly after the break and set fractions of :22.11 and :45.74 under pressure from Lady’s Laughter to her outside. As Lady’s Laughter took over coming into the stretch, Step Out Smartly was second to last, but jockey Bill Troilo had her on the move and she swept past effortlessly in the middle of the track to get up in the final few strides.

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Turfway cancels Sunday card

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 20, 2008 . . . With forecasters promising strong winds and single-digit windchill temperatures, Turfway Park has canceled live racing for Sunday, December 21. The track will remain open for simulcasting.

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Friday, December 19 2008

Experience should tell in Gowell Stakes

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 18, 2008 . . . The $50,000 Gowell Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday has drawn 11 two-year-old fillies with a wide range of racing experience.

With five career starts and two wins, including a maiden win at the Gowell distance at Turfway, Emma Darling brings wide experience to the race. She sat behind a quick pace for the maiden win at six furlongs and used a similar style to win her most recent race, a mile allowance at Churchill Downs. She also has stakes experience, finishing fourth in the Bassinet Stakes at River Downs at summer’s end. Emma Darling is trained by Mike Maker, the meet’s top trainer, and will be ridden by Victor Lebron.

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Jockey Wilkinson gets first career win

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 18, 2008 . . . Apprentice jockey Erin Wilkinson, 24, earned her first career win Thursday night when she guided the filly Misstee Blue to a commanding 7 1/4-length win in the third race at Turfway Park. The ride was the 28th of her young career.

“It’s pure adrenalin,” Wilkinson said of race riding. “I can’t explain it.”

“She’s true grit,” said her agent, Fred Struss. “She’ll ride at Turfway in the morning, turn around and drive back to LaGrange to get on horses at High Point (Training Center), and then turn right back around and come back to Turfway to ride at night. She works hard. She’s going to be a good one.”

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Friday, December 12 2008

Classic foes return in Prairie Bayou

FLORENCE, KY . . . December 11, 2008 . . . Extreme Supreme and Canela, respectively second and third in September’s Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic, return to Turfway Park this Saturday for the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes. The two head a field of 10 for the 1 1/8 mile race.

Trained by John Ward Jr. for John Oxley, Extreme Supreme has not started since his runner-up finish in the Classic. He has performed well off similar or longer layoffs and in 15 career starts has finished out of the money only three times. Extreme Supreme has been training well over the Polytrack at Keeneland and should be ready to return to work in the Prairie Bayou. The mount goes to Otto Thorwarth, who finished second among riders in the fall meet after being edged out of the top spot on closing day.

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