Thursday, December 16, 2004 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 16, 2004 . . . A field of eight veterans including defending titleholder Ask the Lord lines up at Turfway this Saturday for the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles.
Now seven, Ask the Lord just keeps showing up and putting in a good day’s work. He has won more than half a million dollars for co-owner and trainer Bernie Flint, most of it in the last two years. This year he has four wins, two seconds, and a third from 12 starts. He is three-for-six at Turfway, including this race last year and the Dust Commander and Tejano Run stakes earlier this year. After a long and productive series of small stakes races, Flint dropped him into an optional claimer for an $80,000 tag at Churchill Downs last month, where he finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the winner. With conditions dictating 122 pounds, he is back in stakes company Saturday with Ramsey Zimmerman in the irons.
The winner of that optional claimer at Churchill was Bonus Pack, who makes his first appearance at Turfway and his first start for new trainer Greg Foley in the Prairie Bayou. The Churchill win was Bonus Pack’s first from four starts this year. Now six years old, his best efforts have come when he closes. He will carry 118 pounds, including Willie Martinez.
Likely to set the pace is Bernie Flint’s Discreet Hero, who runs coupled with Ask the Lord. Flint claimed the six-year-old back in July, and except for a sixth place on the turf at Ellis Park and a fourth place in a sprint, he’s been in the money ever since. The longer distance of the Prairie Bayou is a benefit, as are the services of jockey Dean Sarvis, Turfway’s leading rider. A Turfway first-timer, Discreet Hero also carries 122 pounds.
Doc D is back on the dirt after three payoffs on the turf. A consistent and versatile performer, he has won nearly as much on the turf as on the dirt and has found the money in seven of 10 starts this year. He can lead or come from off the pace and has a win at Turfway, albeit at 6 1/2 furlongs. Dana Whitney will ride for trainer Eric Reed. Doc D is the third of three at 122 pounds.
Completing the field, with riders and weights, are Mr. Krisley (Juan Molina, Jr., 116), who likes the front but is out of practice on the dirt; Grey Beard (Cesar Mejia, 116); Punch (Billy Patin, 116); and Solo Cat (Chris Herrell, 116), moving up in class and at four the youngest in the field.
First post for the 12-race Saturday card is 1:10 p.m. Admission and parking are free.