Saturday, March 24, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 24, 2007 . . . Hard Spun redeemed himself with an easy 3 1/4-length victory in the $500,000 Grade II Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday. Trained by J. Larry Jones, the Danzig colt entered the race off the first defeat in his career, a fourth place finish in the Feb. 19 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park. He has now won five of six career starts for owner Richard Porter's Fox Hill Farms.
"The plan for this race went perfect," Porter said. "We found that he loves this track and the race set up nice for him. We were getting a lot of hype early on and stumbled but picked ourselves back up today. Larry and his wife [Cindy] are two of the most underrated people in the business."
The 5-2 second choice in a full field of 12, Hard Spun took over on the second turn on his own initiative and responded willingly to jockey Mario Pino in the stretch. He increased his lead under steady urging to take Turfway Park’s premier race. While no match for Hard Spun, Sedgefield continued gamely and defeated Joe Got Even by 3 1/4 lengths for second. Hard Spun finished the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.41.
"More than likely, and in a perfect world, our next start will be in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes," Jones said. "He seems to like Polytrack and Keeneland is almost like home. We definitely want one more prep."
"This horse will do anything you want him to do. I could tell he was wanting to run but he listened for Mario to ask him. He makes more money than Mario and I, but he'll still listen to us. He's very coachable. My only concern with the Blue Grass is that it could be suicide with so many good horses going in the race. You know me. I worry about everything. I wouldn't be overly confident going into that race, but it's a good feeling to know our horse could compete with those horses."
Starbase and Bullara battled at the start of the race while setting the early fractions before fading to finish 5th and 10th, respectively. Race favorite Twilight Meteor, who defeated Sedgefield in the Hallandale Beach Stakes in his last start, broke poorly, had no response in the stretch, and finished sixth.
Hard Spun returned $7.20, $4.60, and $4.80.
The order of finish in the Lane’s End: Hard Spun, Sedgefield, Joe Got Even, For You Reppo, Starbase, Twilight Meteor, Highest Degree, Sports Town, Approval Rating, Bullara, Helios, and Forefathers.
Dominican easy winner in Rushaway
Dominican picked a good time to win the first stakes race of his career when he easily defeated Trust Your Luck by five lengths in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes.
"I was very impressed with his tenacity and professionalism off the layoff," said Dominican's trainer Darrin Miller. "He did that really easy."
Racing for Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton's Silverton Hill, Dominican was making his 3-year-old debut after running third to Tiz Wonderful and Any Given Saturday in his last start, the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes Nov. 25.
"He had a lung issue with some other things, so we gelded him and saw improvement right away," Miller said of Dominican's layoff.
Ridden by jockey Rafael Bejarano, Dominican angled out in midstretch and finished fast to win going away. Trust Your Luck held off Reata's Rocket by a half-length for second. Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.50.
"At the 3/8ths pole I thought we were in the perfect position, but we had to wait a little bit," Bejarano said. "He took off very nicely. He's a very good horse."
Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, Dominican paid $9.80, $5.40, and $3.60. Race favorite Meritocracy set the pace but tired to finish seventh.
The order of finish in the Rushaway: Dominican, Trust Your Luck, Reata's Rocket, Skip Code, Passport, Eighteenthofmarch, Meritocracy, Head to Toe, Dubious Miss, and Pink Viper. Poe Reef scratched.
Sealy Hill gives Casse fifth Bourbonette win
Sealy Hill held off Panty Raid by a head to give trainer Mark Casse his fifth victory in the Grade III, $150,000 Bourbonette Breeders’ Cup Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Patrick Husbands, the daughter of Point Given took the lead at the top of the lane and held off a late-charging Panty Raid, who broke through the gate prior to the race but still beat third-place finisher Aspiring by 2 3/4 lengths. Race favorite Silverinyourpocket had no late bid and finished fifth.
"The horse next to me [Acadia Breeze] broke through the gate and that shook my filly up a little," said Panty Raid's jockey, Edgar Prado. "But she was fine and I was fine, too."
Sent off as the 7-2 second choice, Sealy Hill was making her second start of the year after finishing second in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in January. In her last start as a juvenile, Sealy Hill won the Glorious Song Stakes over the Polytrack at Woodbine.
"She's better than you saw today," Casse said. "She's never been two turns before so she thought the race was all over. One thing about Turfway's Polytrack: horses that like it do well on Derby Day."
Casse won last year's Bourbonette with Top Notch Lady. His other winners in the race include Push On (1983), Pretty Sham (1986), and Apella (1990).
Owned by Eugene Melnyk's Melnyk Racing Stable, Sealy Hill paid $9.60, $5.00, and $3.80. Final time for the one-mile distance was 1:37.51.
The order of finish in the Bourbonette: Sealy Hill, Panty Raid, Aspiring, Our Dancing Babe, Silverinyourpocket, Indian War Dress, Bavarian Belle, Olivine, Acadia Breeze, Rivanna River, Tale of the Queen, and Floral Park.
Awesome Hero takes Hansel in a photo
Awesome Hero defeated Mr. Goodkat by a head in a three-horse photo finish to take the $50,000 Hansel Stakes. Weather Warning, the race favorite, was a nose back in third.
"This horse was much the best," Awesome Hero's trainer Eric Reed said. "He was completely shut off from the 5/16 to the 1/16 pole, and I really didn't think he would get there."
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Awesome Hero was close up along the inside, but was boxed in on the turn. He angled out for the drive and closed willingly to beat pacesetter Mr. Goodkat. Weather Warning took a short lead in the stretch but could not outfinish the other two. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.66. Awesome Hero returned $6.40, $3.80, and $2.80.
Owned by Penelope and Frank St. Charles, Awesome Hero has three wins from five starts, with each victory coming at Turfway.
The order of finish in the Hansel: Awesome Hero, Mr. Goodkat, Weather Warning, Danny Sez, Cajun Mon, Stormin Baghdad, Tainted Money, Cityboy or Cowboy, and Time to Getit. Pete the Poet scratched.
Mary Delaney goes wire-to-wire in Queen
Mary Delaney went wire-to-wire to take the Queen Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths over Hot Storm.
Ridden by Edgar Prado, Mary Delaney went straight to the lead and never looked back. The 4-year-old daughter of Hennessy came into the Queen off a victory in Turfway's Wishing Well Stakes for trainer Eddie Kenneally and owner Fergus Galvin.
"She broke sharply and improved her position all the way," Prado said. "She was doing it all on her own and doing it so easily."
Mary Delaney was the 2-1 second choice and paid $6.80, $3.20, and $3.20. Final time for the six furlongs for older fillies and mares was 1:09.28.
The order of finish in the Queen: Mary Delaney, Hot Storm, New Dimension, Keys, Golden Voice, Mocha Queen, Milago, Cecelia Rose, Cheerily, and Ruby's Prize.