Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 21, 2006 . . . The $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday has drawn a strong field of 11 fillies and mares, among them the first- and third-place finishers in the Grade I Princess Rooney, Malibu Mint and Hot Storm.
After winning the Princess Rooney at nearly 24-1, Malibu Mint closed to finish second by a neck in the Grade II Honorable Miss at Saratoga. She followed with a sixth place finish in the Ballerina Breeders' Cup in late August, another Grade I event, but trainer James Chapman has since been training the 4-year-old filly over Polytrack and she appears to be back on her game, posting a best-of-38 work just last Saturday. Kyle Kaenel will ride Malibu Mint in the 6-furlong Weekend Delight, her first race over Polytrack.
Hot Storm not only won this race last year but also owns two other Turfway stakes, all over Polytrack. After finishing third in the Princess Rooney, she won the West Virginia Secretary of State Stakes and then threw in an uncharacteristic effort, finishing eighth in the Endine (G3). But she had a similarly unplaced outing last spring and came right back to win a stake at Prairie Meadows. After a five-race win streak starting last fall, she has won every second race since, traveling far and wide to do it. If she follows that pattern, the Weekend Delight is her race. Just four years old, she has earned $726,907, most of it at this distance and the most of this group. Miguel Mena, second in the standings behind Julien Leparoux, rides for trainer Dallas Stewart.
Hot Storm likes the lead and will likely find herself vying for it with Very Vegas. Trained by Nick Canani and ridden by Bill Troilo, Very Vegas has three wins and one second in four tries at Turfway, all over Polytrack, and three wins and three seconds in eight starts this year.
After breaking her maiden at first asking in England, Maggie Jordan next won her first race in the U.S., an allowance at Turfway in April. Trainer Patrick Biancone brings her back to the races for the first time since May, when she finished second in the Fit for a Queen Stakes at Arlington. Maggie Jordan has since been training well over Polytrack, posting the bullet of 18 works last Thursday, and she regains the services of Leparoux for this race.
Completing the field are Southern Way (jockey Mathieu Adam); Starleena (Edgar Paucar); Morner (Terry Thompson) and Tax Refund (Willie Martinez), both of whom have missed the money just twice in nine tries this year; Leah's Secret (Rafael Mojica, Jr.); Eyes on Eddy (Jason Lumpkins), who won the My Charmer at Turfway last year; and Quite a Ruckus (Victor Lebron), stakes-placed at Turfway.
Turfway's 10 races on Saturday will be interspersed with 6 races from Kentucky Downs, which presents its Kentucky Cup Turf Festival this Saturday. Gates open at 11:15 a.m. First post is 1:10 p.m.
Yet another track record fell at Turfway Wednesday when Lady Belsara ran the feature, a 6 furlong allowance race, in 1:09.18 after posting splits of :21.65, :44.36, and :56.48. Previous best time for 6 furlongs was 1:09.75, set by Estate Collection in last year's Kentucky Cup Sprint.