Saturday, January 21, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 21, 2006 . . . Mighty Martha was mighty indeed at Turfway Park Saturday, leading nearly all the way to win the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes with plenty of room and energy to spare. The win was the first stakes victory for the 3-year-old filly and for her owner, Daniel Pitzo III.
Breaking from the 8th post under jockey Jason Lumpkins, Mighty Martha went to the lead early. The Irish filly Always a Star caught up and raced alongside to the stretch, where Mighty Martha swung wide and pulled away to win by 5 1/2 lengths. Anna Dana moved up for second, 3/4 of a length ahead of Money Code in third.
“Our plan wasn’t to go to the lead today,” said winning trainer Eric Reed. “It was kind of to sit off of it, but nobody broke really good, I think is what happened. She was a lot better off today because she had the outside post and we didn’t have to use her. Last time we had to gun her from the 1 hole and it told on us.”
“Last time” was a near miss in the Gowell Stakes at Turfway in December. Mighty Martha took the lead early in that race as well and turned back three separate challenges before losing to Seen Dancing by half a length.
“She’d been off a couple of months before that race,” said Reed. “I think that trip over the track was the difference today. She loves the track.” In addition to her experience on Turfway’s Polytrack, Mighty Martha trains on the surface at Keeneland.
Reed chose Mighty Martha as a yearling for Pitzo, broke her, and has been her only handler. Considering whether she could stretch out to a mile, he said, “I’ll talk to Jason and the owner. Jason said she was running green down the lane when she was clear, had her ears up and was kind of playing around, so maybe she can.”
Mighty Martha set early fractions of :22.57 and :46.30 before finishing the 6 1/2-furlong Cincinnati Trophy in 1:20.20. The even-money favorite, she returned $4.20, $3.00, and $2.40. The stakes win improves her record to three wins and one second in four starts.
Completing the order of finish were Summer Cyclone, Always a Star, Military Cash, Skip the Storm, Lady Intellect, and Heavenly Oil. Miss Jenna Lee scratched.
Live racing at Turfway continues Sunday at 1:10 p.m.