Thursday, March 1, 2007 12:00 AM
Irish Day at the Races adds to day
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 1, 2007 . . . The John A. Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park this Saturday should bring a bit of focus to the Lane's End Stakes picture. Eight of the 11 three-year-olds entered for the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia are nominated to the Lane's End, set to run March 24.
With a strong second in the Turfway Prevue sprint in January and an authoritative win in the one-mile WEBN Stakes last month, Joe Got Even is the only horse in the Battaglia to try all three local preps for the Lane's End. In his lone previous attempt at 1 1/16 miles, the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs, Joe Got Even finished fifth; top Derby hopeful Any Given Saturday finished second in the same race. Joe Got Even handles traffic well, closes strongly when asked, and loves Polytrack. From six lifetime starts he has three wins, two at Turfway and one at Keeneland. Miguel Mena is back to ride for trainer Phil Sims.
The closers likely will be trying to run down Digger, shipping in from Laurel Park for trainer Phil Schoenthal. A former claimer, Digger has won twice and never been off the board in six career starts. After breaking his maiden with a 9 1/2-length score, he finished third in the Maryland Juvenile Championship. He led virtually all the way in his last start, a 1 1/8-mile allowance race at Laurel, drawing away after fighting for the lead early. Justin Vitek has the mount.
Catman Running comes in off back-to-back wins, a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight at Hawthorne and a mile allowance at Turfway. The strongest weapon in his arsenal could be adaptability; he set almost all the pace in the Hawthorne race but closed from last to win at Turfway after a rough start. Willie Martinez rides for trainer Eric Reed.
Tanyard Hill was fifth behind Teuflesberg and Ravel in a Keeneland maiden race last fall and is two-for-two in Florida races this year, both at the Battaglia distance. Rodney Prescott rides for trainer Darrin Miller.
Completing the field for the Battaglia Memorial are Legacy Reserve (jockey Kendrick Carmouche) and Rutledge Cat (Alonso Quinonez), both from the barn of Graham Motion; Eighteenthofmarch (Casey Chavez), third in the WEBN; Dicey (Bill Troilo); Bubber (Perry Ouzts); Cobrador (Victor Lebron), second in the WEBN; and Approval Rating (Orlando Mojica), shipping in from the Polytrack at Woodbine. Of the field, only Dicey, Bubber, and Tanyard Hill are not nominated to the Lane's End Stakes.
First post time Saturday is 1:10 p.m. The Battaglia Memorial is the 11th of 12 races on the card. Admission and parking are free.
This Saturday at Turfway also is Irish Day at the Races, celebrating the culture of Ireland and the famed Irish love of horse racing. Presented by the Fenians of Northern Kentucky, the day features the 40-voice Friends of St. Patrick Glee Club, the music of The Sweeneys and the Vinegar Hill Band, the McGing Irish Step Dancers, bagpiper Patrick Hill, and booths with Irish gifts and collectibles. All events will be held on the third floor. Admission to Irish Day events is also free.