Thursday, December 15, 2005 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 15, 2005 . . . The $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday drew a nearly full field, including graded stakes winners on the comeback trail, up-and-comers, and turf runners trying Polytrack. Eleven competitors three years old and up will contest the 1 1/8-mile race.
Scipion has been shut out of stakes since winning the Grade 3 Risen Star early this year, finishing 6th in the Louisiana Derby (G2) and 10th in the Discovery Handicap (G3). Trainer Patrick Biancone brought him to Turfway after the latter race to train him on Polytrack, and a trip to Churchill Downs last month yielded a runner-up allowance finish. The off-the-pace strategy he used in that race has been playing well on Polytrack and may be his best advantage for the Prairie Bayou. Julien Leparoux will ride.
Brass Hat returns to Turfway for the first time since breaking his maiden in the 2004 Rushaway Stakes. He verified that effort with back-to-back Grade 2 wins in the Ohio Derby and Illinois Derby but was injured in the Lone Star Derby (G3) and was off just over a year. Last month at Churchill Downs he finished seventh in a one-mile allowance, his first start off the layoff. With the Prairie Bayou a furlong beyond that, jockey Willie Martinez will have to leave enough for a run at the end. Buff Bradley is the trainer.
While those two look to come back, It’s No Joke is coming on. A three-year-old son of Distorted Humor, It’s No Joke raced once at two, finishing ninth. He sat out the races until this fall and in three starts has a third and back-to-back wins, a maiden special weight at Keeneland and an allowance race at Churchill Downs. The Prairie Bayou is a furlong longer than those two but It’s No Joke had run left in both. His most recent work was a bullet over Turfway’s Polytrack, where he regularly trains. The meet’s leading rider, Jesus Castanon, was aboard for both wins and has the mount again for trainer Rebecca Maker.
Completing the field are turf habitues Northern Shade (jockey Perry Ouzts), Bavarian Baron (Richard Bracho), Gallo Del Bar (CHI) (Rafael Mojica Jr.), and On the Border (Dean Sarvis); veterans Discreet Hero (Eddie Martin Jr.); Gift of the Eagle (Rodney Prescott); and Paging (Phil Teator); and Collateral Damage (Bill Troilo).
The Prairie Bayou is the 10th of Saturday’s 12 live races. First post is 1:10 p.m.