Friday, March 19, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 19, 2004 . . . A flurry of last minute touches has kept Turfway Park staffers busy all day, but for the 11 horses set to break the gate in the 33rd running of the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (G2) Saturday, the time to get ready is over.
Nick Zito’s Birdstone arrived safely on the grounds of the Keeneland Training Center Thursday and is set to ship in early Saturday. Turfway oddsmaker Mike Battaglia has made the colt the even-money favorite. The only graded stakes winner in the field, Birdstone will break from the rail with Jerry Bailey up.
Little Matth Man, 10-1 on the morning line, arrived at Turfway about 10 p.m. Thursday. “He shipped in great, he’s feeling great, and we’re just ready to go,” said trainer Martin Ciresa. “He’s been training just awesome. I’ve never pushed him before a race, but this time we worked him a little harder and he has responded wonderfully.” The colt drew post position 10 in the field of 11. “The post position won’t make a difference to him,” Ciresa continued. “As a closer he should be able to settle in and get a little closer to the rail nicely for [jockey] Pablo [Fragoso]. The early post time shouldn’t affect him. In fact, I kind of like it, because it gives me less time to pace around and worry about how everything is going.”
Tap Dancing Mauk’s trainer Fletcher Mauk liked what he saw at the Call to the Post luncheon on Thursday, when entries were drawn. “He drew exactly where we wanted. We wanted him to be somewhere in the middle and that is where he drew.” The colt will break from post position 5. He’s been training great and improving every day, so we’re excited. When I first started training horses I wanted to be the youngest ever to train a Kentucky Derby winner. I’m 26 now, so we’ll see what happens.” Battaglia has Tap Dancing Mauk at 30-1.
Tales of Glory, Todd Pletcher’s entry in the $100,000 Rushaway, arrived Thursday night after a smooth flight but rough trip, according to Pletcher’s assistant, Jenny DePasquale. “They put him in a van and he didn’t like that. They put him in a plane and he didn’t like that. Then they put him in another van and he didn’t like that either. It’s just the way he is—gets himself going.” Tales of Glory will have Robby Albarado aboard and will break from the 9th position in the field of 10 three-year-olds. He is third choice at 3-1.
KTM Awards presented Saturday
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Media Awards are annually given to the owner, trainer, and jockey who win the most races on the Kentucky circuit. To be presented as part of Lane’s End Day on Saturday, this year’s honors go to owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, trainer Bernard Flint, and jockey Rafael Bejarano. Kentucky Thoroughbred Media is an organization of print and electronic journalists, photojournalists, and publicists who work in Kentucky’s racing and breeding industries.
First post on Saturday, Lane’s End Stakes Day, is 12:30 p.m. EST.