Wednesday, December 31, 2003 12:00 AM
Winter/Spring Meet opens January 1
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 31, 2003 . . . A full field of brand-new three-year-olds looks to start the new year with a stakes win this Saturday in the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes at Turfway Park. The race is the first stakes of the track’s Winter/Spring Meet, which opens January 1.
Veterans and relative newcomers alike are among the 12 horses expected to line up for the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue. Making just his second start is Dancefortyniner, who closed to win by half a length on November 29 at Hawthorne. His style may pay off in the Prevue, which is shaping up to be full of speed.
Leading the charge may be Four Columns, who handled the mud in easy front-running style to break his maiden in the Indiana Stallion Stakes at Hoosier Park. Running with him could be Degenerate Gambler and Roaring Along, both of whom have shown grit in wire-to-wire wins.
Man of Conquest does best from the front, too. His lone win in nine starts came after he got the lead early in a mid-November sprint at Churchill. He beat Silver Minister by 1 3/4 lengths then and earlier finished second after trying hard to hold his lead. His most recent effort was a half-length loss to Dollar a Dip here three weeks ago after he lost and regained the place position in the stretch.
Silver Minister likely will be right behind the leaders and pushing hard. He broke his maiden a month ago at Turfway after two seconds at Churchill Downs. Rafael Bejarano, the leading rider of the Holiday Meet, was aboard for the win and is scheduled to return from Peru in time to ride Silver Minister again in the Prevue.
Dollar a Dip, fresh off a stalker’s win at Turfway, also could take advantage of the speed at the front. Hammer Down Hank showed similar style to break his maiden last time out over a mile at Hoosier, but has been out of the money in three tries at the sprint. Another stalker, Five Card Monty, tells the opposite story; he returns to his successful distance and class after trying a Grade 3 mile at Churchill Downs two months ago.
The “old man” of the field is Rayvo’s Beau, who ran 10 times and won twice as a two-year-old. His most recent win was a $75,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs in late November, a determined neck’s worth of victory in the slop. If the weather forecast holds, he’ll find similar going for the Prevue. The Prevue is old home week for Rayvo’s Beau; he has already faced Dollar a Dip, Man of Conquest, Patriot Station, and Degenerate Gambler and finished behind each one.
Patriot Station is still looking for the right combination of distance and surface after leaving the maiden ranks with a mile win here three months ago. Florida-bred Comic Pride, five weeks off his first win in two tries, completes the field.
Live racing continues without a break as Turfway opens its Winter/Spring Meet on the heels of the closing Holiday Meet. The meet runs through April 1 and features a stakes race every weekend. Highlight of the meet is the Lane’s End Stakes, Turfway’s marquee race and the headline event of a five-stakes card on Saturday, March 20.
Post time during the Winter/Spring Meet is 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 1:10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. First post on New Year’s Day is also 1:10 p.m. On February 1, Super Bowl Sunday, first post is at 12:00 noon. All times Eastern. General admission and parking are free throughout the Winter/Spring Meet except Lane’s End Stakes Day.