Thursday, February 24, 2005 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 24, 2005 . . . One filly will go home Saturday counting her first stakes win after the 27th running of the $50,000 Valdale Stakes at Turfway Park. About evenly balanced among frontrunners, mid-pack patience, and closers, nine three year olds are entered for the one-mile contest.
The early speed is likely to come from posts one and two, where Carson’s Clover and Touch of Splendor line up side by side. Each has at least one win at the distance and at least one win at Turfway. Carson’s Clover, with Rodney Prescott riding for Bill Connelly, will try to shake off two third-place finishes in a row. Touch of Splendor, with Orlando Mojica to ride for trainer Greg Foley, will be going for her third straight win.
Right next door, the aptly named Flexible Princess may go with the speed, as she did in a mile allowance win at Turfway in December, or wait just off the pace, as she did in her first race, a maiden win also at Turfway. She gets James Lopez again for trainer Maria Pinzon.
Flexible Princess also gets swagger rights, as does Full of Fun. Both not only have stakes experience already but earned it against boys, running in the one-mile WEBN Stakes at Turfway three weeks ago. While Flexible Princess faded to second-last after leading early in that race, Full of Fun moved up from far back to finish fourth, albeit beaten many lengths. Both should do better back with the girls. Perry Ouzts rides Full of Fun in her third start for trainer Claude “Chip” Brownfield III.
Brett’s Favrette would have stakes experience too, had January’s deep freeze not cancelled the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes. The filly broke her maiden at Turfway her first time out, and Foley, the meet’s leading trainer, bumped her immediately up to small stakes. She waited out the cancellation with an allowance win instead and now in the Valdale makes not only the class jump but also the jump to two turns. That may suit her off-the-pace style just fine. Jockey Rafael Mojica Jr. will try to keep Brett’s Favrette undefeated in three starts. Foley’s entries will not be coupled.
Keeping Brett’s Favrette company off the pace should be Patty Seattle, in for trainer Paul McGee, with Justin Vitek to ride. She has a maiden win at the distance but couldn’t catch Touch of Splendor in their allowance debut earlier this month.
Completing the field are Obsessional (jockey Joddie Fortner), making a huge leap from among $7,500 claimers; Urban Shocker (Billy Patin), still a maiden; and Cat’s Forty (Juan Molina Jr.), who has improved in each of her four races but has never been out of mid-level maiden claiming ranks.
First post on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Admission and parking at Turfway are free.