Sunday, November 30, 2003 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . November 30, 2003 . . . Halory Leigh left the gate as second choice but hit the wire first to win the 18th running of the Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park this afternoon. Don’t Countess Out, who has three wins at Turfway over the last two years including back-to-back Weekend Delight Stakes, was 4 1/4 lengths back in second. Put Me In, a half-sister to Don’t Countess Out, took third. Winning time over the six furlongs was 1:10.29. The winner, off at 9-5, paid $5.60, $2.20, and $2.10.
Boxed in with three furlongs to go, jockey Craig Perret took Halory Leigh five wide and caught the leader, Put Me In, with a furlong to go. Don’t Countess Out, favored at 8-5, recovered from a stumbling start, was back in the game by the half-mile mark, and kept after it under jockey Terry Thompson to finish second.
“No doubt that the outside filly [Don’t Countess Out] was the horse to beat,” said Perret. “My filly’s a 3-year-old, she came in here off a mile race. It looked like the outside horse was going to be the lone speed, and it didn’t develop that way. When I looked up it was a go for four horses. I just wasn’t going to lose contact with the filly I thought I had to beat. When we straightened up for home I didn’t have a whole lot to make up. I know she kicks pretty hard and she just went right by her.
“[Trainer] Dale [Romans] set this filly up for this particular race. They claimed her, and now they got a stakes winner out of her. She crossed a big bridge with this.”
Romans claimed Halory Leigh for $75,000 in June 2003 and moved her first to allowance races and then to stakes company. Her best stakes finish before today was a third in the $75,000 Prairie Meadows Oaks in September; one race earlier she ran fourth in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.
Romans said he expected the filly to come off the pace. “I kind of thought the eight horse [Don’t Countess Out] would be out there on an easy lead but she stumbled a little leaving, and that probably helped us a little. But Halory ran a big race. They were head and head at the 16th pole and she just drew off.” Romans will take Halory Leigh to Gulfstream for her next start for owners Jerry Crawford, Matt Gannon, and Charlie Grask.
Completing the order of finish were Jodys Deelite, Dance Hall Girl, Growth Stock, Jenny’s Prospector, and Timeless Love. The track was rated fast under brilliant blue skies.
Perret had an easier finish on Halory Leigh in the 9th race than he did with 2-year-old filly Reforest in the 7th. Reforest, making her first start, dropped a shoulder in deep stretch, throwing Perret off balance. Fighting to maintain his seat, Perret brought the filly home for second place.
Earlier on the card, Jason Lumpkins jumped clear but landed on his back when his mount in the 6th race, 3-year-old Don’tasktheprice, took a bad step. Bruised and shaken up, Lumpkins took himself off the rest of his mounts today, including Jodys Deelite in the Holiday Inaugural, but plans to return when Turfway resumes racing on Wednesday.
Post time through the Holiday Meet is 5:30 p.m. EST Wednesday through Friday and 1:10 p.m. EST Saturday and Sunday.