Thursday, March 23, 2006 12:00 AM
Superfly favored in competitive Lane’s End Stakes
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 23, 2006 . . . With Strong Contender headed back to Florida after his $36,000 bankroll left him $2,650 short of the Lane’s End Stakes, the 35th running of Turfway Park’s signature Kentucky Derby prep race looks to be one of the most competitive in recent memory. Track announcer and oddsmaker Mike Battaglia made five horses 5-1 or under on the morning line, including the 7-2 favorite Superfly.
Trained by Nick Zito for Robert LaPenta, Superfly has found the money in six of his seven starts, including a win in the Whirling Ash Stakes at Delaware Park and a third-place finish in the Grade I Champagne Stakes. In his only off-the-board effort, he finished fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind an elite quartet headed by Stevie Wonderboy. With Jeremy Rose in the irons, Superfly will begin the 1 1/8-mile race from post position three.
In his five starts, Silent Times (IRE) has never finished out of the money. A Group II winner in England and Ireland, Silent Times has been training toward the Lane’s End Stakes since winning the Intercasino.com Champagne Stakes at Doncaster in a dead heat last September. The installation of Polytrack at Turfway was a key factor in trainer Eoghan O’Neill’s decision to ship the horse from England for the Lane’s End, a step in his Kentucky Derby strategy. Silent Times drew the outside post. Robby Albarado is set to ride.
In a change from rider assignments announced at the post position draw on Thursday, Edgar Prado will replace Jesus Castanon aboard Hemingway’s Key. Prado had been scheduled to ride Strong Contender.
The field for the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes with riders and odds: Malameeze (John McKee, 20-1); With A City (Brice Blanc, 30-1); Superfly (Rose, 7-2); Starspangled Gator (Charlie Woods Jr., 30-1); Tahoe Warrior (Christopher DeCarlo, 9-2); Sharp Attack (Julio Garcia, 15-1); Seaside Retreat (Patrick Husbands, 12-1); Hemingway’s Key (Prado, 4-1); Laity (Corey Lanerie, 4-1); More Than Regal (David Flores, 15-1); Pair of Kings (Richard Bracho, 20-1); and Silent Times (IRE) (Robby Albarado, 5-1).
The $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup (G3)
The $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup, run this year for the first time as a Grade III race, has attracted 10 three-year-old fillies, including four who have already won a stakes race and two others who are stakes placed.
With her nose victory in the Santa Ynez at Santa Anita, Dance Daily is the lone graded stakes winner in the field. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has named Julio Garcia to ride.
Her main competition may come from Sabatini, who in three career starts has finished no worse than third, including a third in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet and a second in the Grade III Santa Ysabel. Trained by Patrick Biancone, Sabatini will be making her first start since January 7, but she has been training forwardly at Turfway with works dating to February. Julien Leparoux will ride.
Local contender Classical Ryder is undefeated, with all four victories coming over Turfway’s Polytrack surface. In her last effort for trainer Donald Hughes Sr. she overcame a slow start to win the $50,000 Valdale Stakes. Eddie Martin Jr. was aboard in that race and has the call again Saturday.
The field for the one-mile Bourbonette: Sabatini (Leparoux); Lemons Forever (David Flores); Lady Danza (Brice Blanc); Dance Daily (Garcia); Morethanawhisper (Dean Butler); Coronado’s Vision (Edgar Prado); Classical Ryder (Martin Jr.); Capozzene (Christopher DeCarlo); Champagne N Glory (John McKee); and Top Notch Lady (Robby Albarado).
The $100,000 Rushaway Stakes
A competitive field of 12 will fill the gate in the Rushaway, with some hoping to regain past form and keep the door open on upcoming three-year-old races. Such is the case with the likely favorite, Peachtree Stable’s High Cotton. The Todd Pletcher trainee was twice runner-up in important stakes for two-year-olds, the Iroquois Stakes (G3) and Kentucky Cup Jockey Club (G2), but in his first start at three he stumbled at the start and then was eased. Pletcher found that the horse had bled in that race, and High Cotton since has trained well enough to be confident in this spot. Jockey Chris DeCarlo will ride.
In A Flash (Ire) was second in his first American start, which came at Turfway Park. In his next race, also at Turfway, the Patrick Biancone trainee defeated older horses in a gritty gate-to-wire effort. In A Flash will run with Lasix for the first time Saturday. Julien Leparoux will ride.
The field for the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway: High Cotton (DeCarlo); Fabled (Edgar Prado); Warrior Within (Sarvis); Warwick Wonder (Eddie Martin Jr.); Mark of Success (David Flores); Bear Character (James McAleney); Fidrych (Robby Albarado); Triptanic (Rodney Prescott); Special Interest (Julio Garcia); Kings Challenge (John McKee); New Awakening (Casey Chavez); and In A Flash (IRE) (Leparoux).
The $50,000 Hansel Stakes
The first of the five stakes races on the day, the Hansel has attracted a field of nine colts and geldings. The likely favorite is Urban Guy, trained by Tim Ritchey. Urban Guy comes in off a 5 3/4-length win in the $50,000 Mountain Valley Stakes and will be ridden in the Hansel by Robby Albarado.
After winning the Turfway Prevue and the WEBN Stakes, both sprints, Final Copy finished third in the one-mile John Battaglia Memorial Stakes. Trainer Greg Foley returns the horse to sprint distance again in the Hansel. Edgar Prado will ride.
The field for the six-furlong Hansel Stakes: Urban Guy (Albarado); Bubbsstar (Jose Castanon); Miner’s Lamp (David Flores); Creek Bay (Justin Vitek); Neverbeendancin’ (Rodney Prescott); Tax Credit (Jesus Castanon); Skeleton Crew (Phil Teator); Final Copy (Prado); and, making his first career start, Cognac Kisses (Inosencio Diego).
The $50,000 Queen Stakes
Carded for fillies and mares four years old and up, the Queen has drawn nine runners and a lot of speed. Very Vegas has earned $371,875 in her 32-race career and in recent weeks has two wins and a second over Polytrack. The runner-up finish came in the Wishing Well Stakes, where she finished just 1 1/4 lengths behind the well-regarded Hot Storm. Jesus Castanon will ride for trainer Nick Canani.
Listen, a dedicated frontrunner, is undefeated in three lifetime starts and drew away unchallenged to win her last race by 9 1/4 lengths. She has raced only on Polytrack, and each win has been a step forward. The Queen is the next step, her first stakes attempt. Top jockey Edgar Prado has the mount for trainer Rebecca Maker.
The field for the six-furlong Queen Stakes: Very Vegas (Castanon); Songfest (David Flores); Dance Hall Dreamer (Corey Lanerie); Moonlit Romance (Godofredo Laurente); Listen (Prado); Triple Fantasy (Eddie Martin Jr.); Light Fling (Julien Leparoux); Eastern Lily (Richard Bracho); and Body by Katrina (Rodney Prescott). Body by Katrina and Light Fling will be coupled for trainer Wayne Mogge and owner Shyman Farm.