Saturday, December 9, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 9, 2006 . . . Half Heaven arrived in Kentucky with one stakes win over Polytrack and promptly added a second, the $50,000 My Charmer Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday.
Her previous start, a win in the River Memories Stakes on Woodbine's Polytrack, was a key factor in the decision to run her at Turfway, said trainer Dale Romans. "That's the way I got her," Romans said. "She won so easy at Woodbine that [owner Stronach Stables] decided this would be a good spot to try to race her this winter. They sent her in and all we had to do was breeze her a couple of times and run her. She showed a lot of grit there at the end."
Under leading rider Miguel Mena, Half Heaven stalked the moderate pace set by Ella Belle before taking the lead at about the eighth pole. She held on to win by half a length over My Chickadee, who followed the rail before finding room to make her bid. Moon Berry closed late to finish third, a neck behind My Chickadee. Ella Belle finished fifth, her rider having had his whip knocked from his hand after losing the lead.
The My Charmer was Half Heaven's first race for Romans. The four-year-old filly was trained for her race at Woodbine in Toronto by Arthur Silvera and had previously run primarily in New York under the care of Gary Contessa. Bred in New York by David Cassidy, she now owns 6 wins, 6 seconds, and 1 third from 20 starts and earnings of $277,461.
Half Heaven finished the 1 1/16-mile My Charmer in 1:42.95. Bettors sent her off as the 5-2 favorite for payouts of $7.40, $4.80, and $2.60.
The complete order of finish was Half Heaven, My Chickadee, Moon Berry, Golden Locket, Ella Belle, Keys, Winikins, Merry Me in Spring, Commercialize, and Turbulent Thinking. Miss Wellspring and Ayla Bella scratched. Caroline's Gold and Shari's Gold Sole did not draw in from the also-eligible list.
The win was the fourth of the day for Mena, who extended his lead in the standings and now has 19 wins from 67 mounts.
Racing continues at Turfway on Sunday, with first post at 1:10 p.m.