Saturday, January 3, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 3, 2004 . . . The winning combination of jockey Rafael Bejarano and trainer Greg Foley teamed up again at Turfway Park Saturday afternoon to take the $50,000 Turfway Prevue with Silver Minister. The victory was Bejarano’s fourth on the day, his second for Foley.
The 6-1/2 furlong race for three-year-olds was speed heavy, and Bejarano urged Silver Minister to the front a few strides into the race. Always in the lead after that, the gelding was pushed by first one and then another of the other speed runners, but kept a measured and steady one-length lead until he hit the turn. With Bejarano hand-riding him from that point, Silver Minister left the rest behind to win by 5 lengths over the muddy track. It was his first trip over an off track.
“The track had a little more speed [than earlier in the day], so I got my horse to the front very easy,” Bejarano said. “There was a lot of speed in the race, and I looked, got him on the inside, and then was just chilly on him. In the stretch I moved on him a little and he had a very, very good finish.”
With the leader in the stretch were Degenerate Gambler, who stayed the course to finish second under Tony D’Amico, and Dollar a Dip, Mark Johnston’s mount, who dropped back to fourth. Rayvo’s Beau, co-owned and trained by Greg Foley’s father, Dravo Foley, was kept to his task by jockey Dean Butler and finished third.
Greg Foley said his decision to enter Silver Minister in the Prevue was based partly on the horse’s second-place finish to Wildcat Shoes at Churchill Downs; the latter went on from that race to set a stakes record in the recent Sugar Bowl Stakes at Fair Grounds. “I may have run him back a little too quick in his next start,” he said, “so we gave him a little freshener, brought him here to break his maiden, and then gave him the 30 days [leading up to the Prevue].”
Noting his success with Champali last year in the Turfway winter stakes, Foley said he plans to follow a similar road with Silver Minister, and “this year get the big one,” the Lane’s End Stakes on March 20.
Completing the order of finish in the Prevue were Man of Conquest (Jason Lumpkins), Comic Pride (Rodney Prescott), and Roaring Along (Michael Rowland). Patriot Station was an early scratch. The winner stopped the clock at 1:17.87 and paid $3.80, $2.60, and $2.20 as the 4-5 favorite.
Silver Minister is owned by Lloyd Madison Farms LLC.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway with a 1:10 p.m. EST post time. The track is open for simulcasting on Mondays through January and closed Tuesdays. Live racing is scheduled Wednesday through Sunday each week through April 1, with first post on weekdays at 5:30 p.m. and on weekends at 1:10. Post time on Super Bowl Sunday is 12:00 noon.