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Silver Minister takes Battaglia, owns Turfway

Saturday, February 28, 2004 12:00 AM
  • General
Bejarano hits six for the second time this meet
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 28, 2004 . . . Silver Minister turned his home field advantage into an authoritative win Saturday in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park. At 1 1/16 miles, the Battaglia is the last prep for the Grade 2 $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes on March 20.

The day belonged to jockey Rafael Bejarano, whose win in the Battaglia was just one of six on the 12-race card. Bejarano has twice won six on a card since the Winter/Spring Meet began January 1. He is the only jockey to accomplish the feat at Turfway since Kris Prather set the mark once in 2001. Bejarano’s win in the Battaglia was his second on the day for trainer Greg Foley.

By Silver Deputy out of Mint Leaf, Silver Minister continues to do whatever Foley asks him to do. While he nearly wired the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue in January, he was just as confident when Bejarano asked him to rate in both the mile-long WEBN Stakes in early February and the Battaglia. As expected, Little Matth Man, shipping in from New York, and White Mountain Boy, a previously undefeated Maryland-bred whose wins have all come at Laurel, proved his nearest competition. They finished two-three behind the leader, jockey Shannon Uske urging Little Matth Man past the tiring White Mountain Boy in deep stretch. Abel Castellano Jr. had the mount on White Mountain Boy.

“This horse is versatile and he looked in good shape the whole time,” said owner Rob Lloyd, a partner in Lloyd Madison Farms LLC, which owns Silver Minister. “He was right there stalking the whole time, but I was looking at the times and they were right in line with what I thought he could do. They actually looked a little better than last time [in the WEBN], since this race was a little longer. This is what you get into it [ownership] for, that’s what you hope for, and we’re just enjoying this one.”

The pace-setting Peter the Rock, Jeff Johnston up, set fractions of 23.39 and 46.99 before tiring and dropping back to finish last in the field of 11. The winning time was 1:44.79. The favorite at 2-1, Silver Minister paid $6.40 for the win. (Addendum: winning margin 2 3/4.)

Foley said he’s hoping for a little luck this year. Last year he also trained Champali, owned by Lloyd Madison Farms IV, to wins in the Turfway Prevue, the WEBN, and the Battaglia before seeing him finish third in the Lane’s End and sit out the Triple Crown races. “He [Silver Minister] seems to be coming into it perfectly,” Foley said.

Between White Mountain Boy in third and the trailing Peter the Rock were Tap Dancing Mauk (Eddie Zuniga), Iron Rogue (Jason Lumpkins), Dancefortyniner (Daniel Coa), Tanner Danner (Billy Troilo), Revolver Six (Fabio Arguello Jr.), Risky Trick (Heberto Castillo Jr.), and Commandment (Tony D’Amico). Terrifika was scratched.

Racing continues Sunday at Turfway; first post is 1:10 p.m. EST. First post on Lane’s End Stakes Day will be 12:30 p.m. EST to accommodate national coverage by ESPN2.

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