Thursday, March 18, 2004 12:00 AM
Birdstone gets the rail
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 18, 2004 . . . The Kentucky Derby trail makes its annual stop at Turfway Park Saturday for the Grade 2 Lane’s End Stakes and four supporting stakes. The $500,000 feature race will be the first 1 1/8 mile test for most of the horses in the field of 11. Entries were drawn Thursday at the annual Call to the Post luncheon.
With his win in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes as a juvenile, Marylou Whitney’s Birdstone immediately stamped himself a contender on the road to the Derby and has done nothing to disprove that claim. Saturday he will face his first major challenge as a three-year-old when he breaks from the rail for trainer Nick Zito and jockey Jerry Bailey. The son of Kentucky Derby winner Grindstone is scheduled to leave Florida on Thursday and will ship up from Keeneland on Saturday morning.
While Birdstone is likely to be close to the early pace, local standout Silver Minister also has been first or second by the half-mile call in each of his victories. He will break from post position seven under regular rider Rafael Bejarano. Silver Minister is owned by Lloyd Madison Farms LLC, some of whose partners also own Champali, the third-place finisher in last year’s Lane’s End. Like Champali, Silver Minister is trained by Greg Foley.
“We came close to winning last year,” Foley said, “and I think we have a good chance of winning it this year.”
Two California-based horses, That’s an Outrage and Hippocrates, are already settling in to the Turfway Park stakes barn for trainers Michael Puhich and Kathy Walsh, respectively. That’s an Outrage is no stranger to big-day racing, having competed in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last year. Hippocrates has improved in all four career starts and appears to be peaking at the right time.
The Lane’s End field in order of post position: 1. Birdstone (Bailey); 2. That’s an Outrage (Robby Albarado); 3. Hippocrates (David Flores); 4. Stolen Time (Cornelio Velasquez); 5. Tap Dancing Mauk (Eddie Zuniga); 6. Hasslefree (Court); 7. Silver Minister (Bejarano); 8. New Element (Mark Guidry); 9. Tricky Taboo (Tony D’Amico); 10. Little Matth Man (Pablo Fragoso); 11. Sinister G (Paul Toscano).
Saturday’s Rushaway Stakes has drawn a field of 10 led by two Zito students, El Prado Rob, who finished fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G1), and Pies Prospect. Bailey will ride El Prado Rob, who, like stablemate Birdstone, will break from the rail.
Todd Pletcher, Gulfstream’s leading trainer, has shipped in two horses to run on the crowded Lane’s End undercard, including Tales of Glory, who will make his three-year-old debut in the Rushaway for owner Michael Tabor.
The Rushaway field in order of post position: 1. El Prado Rob (Bailey); 2. Revolver Six (Flores); 3. Pies Prospect (Bejarano); 4. Uncivil (Guidry); 5. Boston Brahmin (Court); 6. Gamblin (Velasquez); 7. Iron Rogue (Fragoso); 8. Brass Hat (Jason Lumpkins); 9. Tales of Glory (Albarado); 10. Thelionshare (Zuniga).
The $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup has drawn a small but talented field of six three-year-old fillies. With four stakes winners in the field, it will be no cakewalk for Padua Stable’s classy filly Class Above. The daughter of Quiet American was a most impressive winner in her last start over the Turfway oval, winning the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies in September by 16 lengths.
The Bourbonette field in order of post position: 1. Susan’s Angel (Court); 2. Cat’s Account (Bejarano); 3. Slewpy’s Storm (D’Amico); 4. Class Above (Bailey); 5. Native Annie (Albarado); 6. Fond (Velasquez).
Three-year-old sprinters have a shot at Turfway’s Saturday card in the $50,000 Hansel Stakes. The six-furlong race drew a field of nine and has a pair of entries, Apple Krisp and Man of Conquest, and Gethsemani with Danieltown. With the services of Bailey, Starlight Stable’s Wulpe figures to be the public’s choice. The colt won his last two starts, including an impressive 1 3/4-length victory in a six-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream.
The Hansel field in order of post position: 1. Apple Krisp (Albarado); 2. Wulpe (Bailey); 3. Man of Conquest (Bejarano); 4. Third Gear (Billy Troilo); 5. Cannacorn (Zuniga); 6. Gethsemani (Court); 7. Marley’s Revenge (Eduardo Perez); 8. Cold Water (Fabio Arguello Jr.); 9. Danieltown (Fragoso).
Saturday’s first stakes race is the $50,000 Queen. The field of nine fillies and mares four years old and upward pits top local runners against some classy shippers. Foley, leading trainer at the current Turfway meet, has entered Cozy One and is looking forward to the race. “She’s training very well,” he said. “I expect her to be in the first flight of horses stalking the pace.”
The Queen field in order of post position: 1. Saratoga Humor (Bejarano); 2. Cozy One (Guidry); 3. Secondary School (Albarado); 4. Miss Mary Apples (D’Amico); 5. Ebony Breeze (Velasquez); 6. Air Marshall (Bailey); 7. Glorious Miss (Flores); 8. Malo (Zuniga); 9. Jenny’s Prospector (Lumpkins).
First post for Saturday’s 12-race card is 12:30 p.m. EST. While the VIP Tent has sold out, reserved tickets remain in the dining room and clubhouse and $10 general admission tickets are still available. For ticket information call (859) 371-0200.