Saturday, February 7, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 7, 2004 . . . If the question was two turns, the answer is “no problem” as Silver Minister drew off easily to win the $50,000 WEBN Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park. The win gives trainer Greg Foley his second straight stakes victory with Silver Minister. The colt won the Turfway Prevue on January 3 and is now three-for-five lifetime with two seconds.
Sent off at 4-5, Silver Minister broke well and stayed just behind the pace-setting Danieltown for six of the eight furlongs. Jockey Rafael Bejarano, the meet’s leading rider, asked Silver Minister to take over at the head of the stretch and he drew away easily to win by 5-1/4 lengths over Revolver Six. Dollar a Dip, ridden by Orlando Mojica, was third.
“The only thing I was concerned about was that we missed a lot of training,” said Foley. “He showed he’s got some class, running on limited training. He’s got a lot more route pedigree than Champali—he’s by Silver Deputy and on the dam’s side [Mint Leaf by Capote] he’s got route pedigree—and I don’t see why he can’t get a mile and a sixteenth, mile and an eighth. He’s a quality kind of colt, this colt is. If he comes out the race good, we’re going to the Battaglia.”
The John Battaglia Memorial Stakes is the third of three Turfway stakes that Foley won with Champali last year. He said he intends to follow a similar path with Silver Minister.
Describing the victory, Foley said, “He’s not a front-end horse. That Danieltown, he’s an awful fast horse; I figured we’d be behind him. We broke good and we were in good shape going into the first turn. Danieltown almost has to be a front-end horse and I figured they’d be sending him. Our horse collared him and drew off from the head of the lane to the wire. Made it look pretty easy.”
The WEBN was just the second start for runner-up Revolver Six, who finished 11th and last in a maiden special weight at Keeneland last October. Ridden today by James Sunseri, the horse went off at 69-1 and paid $29.80 for place.
Winning time for the WEBN Stakes was 1:41.98, and the winner paid $3.80 for his effort over the mile course. The track was rated good.
Bejarano leads the nation by wins
Bejarano leads not only the Turfway Park Winter/Spring Meet by wins but also all jockeys nationwide. Riding only at Turfway so far this year, he has 64 wins from 189 starts and rides at a 70 percent in-the-money clip. Four of his wins came on today’s card. His win total already is more than half the record set by Jason Lumpkins, who had 111 wins last year in a Winter/Spring Meet hit hard by 15 weather-related cancellations. The 2004 Winter/Spring Meet closes April 1.
Cold temperatures and track conditions have led Turfway officials to cancel racing mid-card three times during the Winter/Spring Meet to date, including today. The WEBN Stakes was the ninth of 12 races on the card and the last one run. The track also has cancelled its full card four times during the meet.
Michael Rowland remains critical
While three of Turfway’s whole-card cancellations were related to cold weather, one came out of concern for jockey Michael Rowland, who was injured February 4 at Turfway in a three-horse spill. Rowland remains in critical condition at University Hospital in Cincinnati. Track officials cancelled the card the day after the accident and resumed racing on February 6 at the encouragement of Rowland’s wife, trainer Tammy Rowland.
Likely Exchange rescheduled
The Likely Exchange Stakes, originally on today’s card, will be rescheduled for next weekend, probably Saturday. Nominations will close Wednesday, February 11, with entries on Thursday.