Saturday, December 31, 2005 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 31, 2005 . . . Trainer Jeff Talley spent four patient months teaching Saintly Look how to wait and close big, and the lesson paid off Saturday at Turfway Park with a win in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes.
“He used to be nothing but speed and stop, and then when we got him we started taking him way back, and he likes it,” said Talley, who claimed Saintly Look for $35,000 from Dallas Stewart in October 2004. Saintly Look also had surgery to correct a breathing problem after Talley claimed him. “We brought him up to Turfway two weeks ago and breezed him and he just loves it,” Talley continued.
Waiting far back, 10th of 11 in the Holiday Cheer field, jockey Rafael Mojica Jr. dropped Saintly Look to the rail to save ground and then swung him out entering the stretch. After running close up on the inside, Private Horde had taken the lead from Yucatan after half but could not answer when Saintly Look sailed past to win by 2 3/4 lengths. Sgt. Bert also moved past from his steady spot in fourth to take second, leaving Private Horde a half-length back in third.
Saintly Look won the Holiday Cheer on his last day as a five-year-old. His only previous stakes wins came in the Sugar Bowl at the end of his two-year-old campaign and the Grade III LeComte Stakes in January of his sophomore season, both at Fair Grounds. He finished 2005 with three wins in nine starts; his career record stands at 7-2-5 in 27 starts. Saintly Look is owned by Terry Raymond and Jana Wagner.
Saintly Look finished the six-furlong Holiday Cheer in 1:11.03 after sitting behind splits of :22.45, :45.98, and :58.31. The bettors’ sixth choice at 12.40-1, he paid $27.40, $11.80, and $7.20.
Completing the Holiday Cheer field were Yucatan, Overlord, My Lord, the 8-5 favorite Fire Slam, Montstar, Slew’s Saga, Catlaunch, and Muna. City Rapid scratched.
Despite riding no winners Saturday, the last day of the Holiday Meet, Jesus Castanon led all jockeys with 27 wins for the meet. He finished one ahead of Willie Martinez, who holds a record nine Turfway riding titles. Joe Cain was leading trainer with 8 wins from 33 starters, one better than Greg Foley, Bill “Buff” Bradley, and Becky Maker. Four owners tied with three wins each.
Racing continues without interruption at Turfway as the Winter/Spring Meet begins Sunday, January 1. First post January 1 and 2 is 1:10 p.m. The track is dark Tuesday, and then racing resumes Wednesday, again at 1:10 p.m. On Thursday, January 5, the track returns to its usual schedule, with first post at 5:30 on weeknights and 1:10 p.m. on weekends.