Thursday, March 4, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 4, 2004 . . . The $50,000 Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday has drawn a nearly full field of fillies and mares, some on familiar territory, others new in town, some veterans, a few just getting started.
Relatively new to the game and new to Turfway is the versatile four-year-old Playa Maya, third in the $40,000 Lagniappe Stakes at Delta Downs. She broke her maiden at Churchill Downs her first time out and has never finished out of the money in four lifetime starts. She has closed to win and in her last race led all the way to win a route on the turf. Tony D’Amico picks up the mount for David Carroll.
Lately arrived in Northern Kentucky is the veteran Balla Twine, one of two six-year-olds in the mile competition. The Virginia-bred spent the last year in Chicago with middling success, but she enjoyed her first trip to Turfway this year, going wire-to-wire for a mile in the mud to win by 10 3/4 lengths over mid-level allowance rivals. That January race mirrored her previous win at Hawthorne, where she won by 8 lengths carrying 120 pounds in similar company. Rodney Prescott has the mount for trainer Michele Boyce.
The likely favorite and the highweight by two pounds at 116 is Glitter Act. Trained by Dale Romans, the four-year-old was third in the muddy My Charmer Stakes last December, her only start at Turfway, but has run in the money in all eight of her starts. She will bring her Glitterman speed, hoping to repeat her wire-to-wire route win under Jose Santos at Gulfstream in January. She gets the advantage of jockey Rafael Bejarano’s hold on the Turfway and national standings.
Grand Model apparently likes being four. After two races as a two-year-old, a ten-month layoff, and six more races at three, she broke her maiden at Turfway Park on her ninth try, the first of her four-year-old season. She likes the distance, has won in the mud, which could be a factor Saturday, and has no trouble waiting her turn behind the speed. She is two for three this year at Turfway with one third-place finish, but this is her first stakes attempt. Jeff Johnston replaces regular rider Jason Lumpkins.
Also lining up are Remiewaterbluz, (Dean Sarvis), who closed late to win last time out and is two for two at Turfway this year; Bonay (Dean Butler); River Flower (Mary Doser); Page Me Later (Perry Ouzts); Secondary School (Jason Lumpkins); New York-bred S’more Smoke (Orlando Mojica); and Stonebridge Lady (Eddie Zuniga).
First post on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. EST. Admission and parking are free.