Saturday, January 17, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 17, 2004 . . . Jockey Michael Rowland moved to within four wins of his 4,000th career victory when he guided Stoneway to a wire-to-wire victory in the 22nd running of the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday at Turfway Park.
Stoneway, owned by James Stone’s Stoneway Farm and trained by veteran Bernard Flint, covered the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.67over a course rated as wet-fast.
Given morning line odds of 4-1 by Turfway Park oddsmaker Mike Battaglia, Stoneway was sent off at 12-1 and paid $27.40, $10.20 and $5.00.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Storm Boot-Golf Girl by Kingmambo sprinted clear right from the gate and set a comfortable pace for Rowland, going the first quarter mile in :22.67 seconds.
“I thought there was some speed down inside me and that I would probably have to rate her just off the pace, but she got out there so quickly I just let her go and got perfect position,’’ said Rowland. “She was going so easy on the lead I just let her run. I wasn’t really worried she wouldn’t have enough for the stretch.”
Stoneway hit the half-mile mark in 46 seconds with a three-length lead that widened to five at the top of the stretch.
“I took a little peek under my arm and didn’t see anyone coming and I only had to get the whip out three or four times and that was only in deep stretch,” said Rowland.
Stoneway finished a clear two lengths ahead of hard-charging Beau Watch at the wire, with favored Plumlake Lady finishing a fast-closing third just a neck behind Beau Watch.
Plumlake Lady, sent off at 8-5, acted up considerably in the paddock prior to the race and tossed Turfway Park’s leading jockey Rafael Bejarano, knocking the wind out of him. Bejarano did ride Plumlake Lady but took off his final two mounts due to soreness sustained in the fall.
The win was Stoneway’s third in five career starts and her second in three starts since coming off an almost four-month layoff. The layoff came after a disappointing 11th-place finish in the Pepsi Bassinet Stakes on Aug. 30 at River Downs.
Flint said it was discovered right after that race that Stoneway was suffering from a lung infection and the decision was made by Stoneway Farm to bring her there to rest.
“I have to give the owner a lot of credit for being patient with this filly,” said Flint. “She needed to take time off after she got sick and that time also allowed her to grow up. She’s got some talent.”