Saturday, September 23, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 23, 2006 . . . Malibu Mint waited through some of the fastest fractions yet run on Polytrack before running off with the Weekend Delight Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday.
Very Vegas laid down a hot pace of :21.56 and :44.04 with Hot Storm right behind her to set up Malibu Mint's run, but winning trainer James Chapman was not counting on any particular scenario.
"If we had asked this filly, she'd have run that fast," he said. "He [jockey Kyle Kaenel] knows time. He knows where they're at, and he had her where we wanted her to be."
Malibu Mint came to the leaders in the turn, went five wide, and with a light tap from Kaenel to keep her mind on her work drew steadily off to win by 3 3/4 lengths, crossing the wire in a record 1:08.40. Morner, with Julien Leparoux aboard, made a similar move to finish second. Hot Storm stayed in for third, another length back.
"I was laying about fifth, just on Julien's hip, and they were all gunning pretty hard," Kaenel said. "My only worry was how wide we were going to get caught, but as soon as I asked her, man, she was gone."
Finishing behind Hot Storm were Tax Refund, Leah's Secret, Eyes on Eddy, Very Vegas, Quite a Ruckus, and Southern Way. Leparoux picked up the mount on Morner when Maggie Jordan scratched. Starleena also scratched.
The win sets up Malibu Mint for Keeneland's first meet on Polytrack, said Chapman. "That was the game plan," he said, "to come here and see if she liked it."
Off as the 3-2 favorite, Malibu Mint paid $5.00, $3.40, and $2.60. The win, her 6th in 21 starts, pushed her earnings over the $500,000 mark for owners John and Martha Jane Mulholland.
Malibu Mint's time for the 6-furlong Weekend Delight was the fourth record set in two days as times continue to fall at Turfway. In the 12th race Saturday, Giantscape set a new mark for the mile at 1:36.23. On Friday, He Loves Me Not finished the 6 1/2-furlong third race in 1:15.99, and Running Play ran the sixth race in 1:03.75 to set a new record for 5 1/2 furlongs. Both days, the records were set as rain fell steadily and at times heavily on Turfway's Polytrack.
Turfway presented 10 races Saturday. Six turf races from Kentucky Downs were scheduled to be commingled with Turfway's races but were canceled with the rest of the Kentucky Downs card after heavy rains saturated that track's turf course.
Racing at Turfway continues Sunday at 1:10 p.m. The track presents the 13th running of the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions next Saturday.