Saturday, December 16, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 16, 2006 . . . Sidcup and apprentice jockey Alonso Quinonez each earned his first stakes win today, taking the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park with a smart early ride and a well-timed, confident move in the final turn.
The well-matched field of 10 raced tightly together through much of the race, and at the finish less than 4 lengths separated the winner from eighth place. Winning time for the 1 1/8 mile race was 1:49.62.
"I was trying to keep him relaxed and keep him clear, so when I asked him I could let him run," said Quinonez, who took Sidcup back after a quarter to give him room. "I was behind the pack of horses and then he came flying with a big move."
Special Event also stayed back before closing strongly to finish second, beaten just half a length. Racing on the inside just off the early pace, Gin and Sin could not find running room until late in the stretch and settled for third, another half-length back.
Completing the order of finish were Wayzata Bay, Away to Boston, Victory Flyer, Mesawmi, Air Academy, Summer Book, and Chief Export, who stumbled at the start. Starspangled Gator and Sweet Grass Creek scratched.
A four-year-old gelding, Sidcup was the bettors' sixth choice at 12-1 and paid $26.80 for the win. His record stands at 3-4-6 in 21 starts for earnings of $129,334. After his win over Keeneland's Polytrack this fall, Sidcup stayed behind to race at Turfway while trainer Walter Bindner Jr. took the rest of the string to Florida, said Mrs. S. K. Johnston Jr., who bought Sidcup for $32,000 at the Adena Springs South two-year-olds in training sale in 2004.
Quinonez now has 19 wins in the current meet, six behind leading rider Miguel Mena.
Two new track records
Turfway track records continue to drop as the Polytrack surface enters its second winter. Forth and Forever won Friday's ninth race in 1:35.61 to set the new record for the mile. The previous mark of 1:35.69 was set just last Sunday by Esprit Du Roi. Cielo Song won Saturday's ninth race in 1:15.35 to claim the track record for 6 1/2 furlongs. The previous record, set by He Loves Me Not on September 22, was 1:15.99.
Live racing continues at Turfway on Sunday with first post at 1:10 p.m.