Saturday, February 21, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 21, 2004 . . . The $50,000 Dust Commander played out according to script today at Turfway Park, though the star waited in the wings a while longer than usual. Ask the Lord was 9 1/4 lengths off the lead and trailed the field at the half but by the quarter pole was only three lengths back. “I was watching the two horses in the front [Twin Talk and Wild Lies] going right together,” said winning jockey Rafael Bejarano. “I let him go a little, a little, at the 5/8ths and then I started moving on him about the 3/8ths, and I could see I would take him outside.” The seven-year-old gelding took the lead inside the 16th pole and won by most of a length.
Rodney Prescott picked up the mount on the runner-up, Doc D, after scheduled rider Jason Lumpkins was unseated by his winning mount in the fifth race. Twin Talk, ridden by Billy Troilo, was third. The Dust Commander was rescheduled for today after live racing was cancelled last Saturday.
As expected, Twin Talk and Wild Lies fought over lively fractions, stopping the clock at :45.89 for the half, while Doc D waited just back in third before making a run for the lead in the stretch. King of Speed (Jeff Johnston) was fourth after passing the tiring Wild Lies, who finished fifth. Last was Michael’s Temper (Frankie Cotrone, Jr.). Wendlar, Bonaparte, and Brian’s Echo scratched. Winning time for the mile was 1:37.38. Sent off at even money, Ask the Lord paid $4.00.
Reached at Oaklawn, winning trainer Bernard Flint said, “We were sitting on the fence with him, thinking about putting him in down here for the [Grade 3, $100,000] Essex. He’s trained to go a little longer than the mile but he’s getting older now and we thought we’d put him in for the 50 [thousand] instead of the 100. It’s typical of him to come from behind like that. He’s been dong it that way a long time. He always tries hard, and so does the kid [Bejarano].”
Slewpy’s Storm won her last race, her first try at a mile, by 7 1/2. Her 8 1/2-length win Saturday in the $50,000 Valdale Stakes was an encore performance. Plumlake Lady finished second, a length ahead of even-money favorite Tarrah Trick.
Of the seven 3-year-old fillies in the field, only Diamonds and Lace and Slewpy’s Storm had experience at a mile and both had won. Asked about the distance, trainer Edward Frederick said, “It was all the factor. We had her nominated for the Martha Washington last Monday at Oaklawn and it was the same scenario. None of the sprint horses held on. It was the horses that had gone around two turns.
“She ran such a big race that first day [winning by a nose in a 7-furlong, $50,000 maiden claiming event] that we kinda thought she might want to be a middle distance sprinter. So we ran her 3/4, but she didn’t fare too well. Then we ran her back going 6 1/2 [in Turfway’s Cincinnati Trophy] and she only got beat four lengths. So we knew she was looking for ground at the end.
“She was fifth, and then she just drug him [jockey Tony D’Amico] up to third down the backside. About the 16th pole she just took over.” Slewpy’s Storm covered the mile in 1:37.87 and paid $9.60 as the third choice.
Plumlake Lady, ridden by Eddie Zuniga, has a reputation for acting up in the paddock and received permission from the stewards to be first on the track. Bejarano rode Tarrah Trick, who took on her first stakes and her first mile today after winning her first two races by a combined 19 1/2 lengths.
Completing the order of finish were Regal Case (Jeff Johnston), Diamonds and Lace (Orlando Mojica), Military Mission (Jose Castanon), and Stoneway (Rodney Prescott), who came in off a wire-to-wire win in the Cincinnati Trophy last month and spotted her rivals five to seven pounds apiece. Leading Lioness and Beau Watch were scratched.
Racing continues at Turfway on Sunday beginning at 1:10 p.m. EST.