Saturday, March 31, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 31, 2007 . . . In the older filly and mare division, Turfway Park belongs to Half Heaven. The five-year-old mare posted her third Turfway stakes win since December Saturday, coming from off the pace to take the $50,000 Fairway Fun Stakes by half a length over Sassy Skipper. My Chickadee was a neck back in third.
"She really loves this racetrack," said winning rider Miguel Mena. " I had the horse to beat."
Ella Belle took the early lead as expected, with Half Heaven biding her time a couple of lengths back in third. When Wrapped Up in You and My Chickadee moved together to Half Heaven's outside at the half-mile pole, Mena was forced to check briefly and dropped back to fifth.
"She had a perfect break," said Mena. "I thought I was going to have a better trip than that. I was trying to lay third, but at the half the 10 horse (My Chickadee) and the 6 horse (Wrapped Up in You), they moved early and came in, and I had to check at the 3/8 pole."
My Chickadee took a short lead from Ella Belle in the stretch, but Half Heaven had long since regained her stride and was coming fast outside those two. Sassy Skipper threatened with a closing run of her own but could not catch the winner. Half Heaven finished the 1 1/16-mile Fairway Fun in 1:45.16.
Completing the order of finish were Ella Belle, fourth by a nose, Wrapped Up in You, Legislady, Stormy Amber, the 2-1 favorite Top Notch Lady, No Reason, Country Fair (UAE), and Tazotee.
The 5-2 second choice, Half Heaven paid $7.20, $4.20, and $3.00. She now has 8 wins, 7 seconds, and 1 third from 23 starts and has earned $349,461 for owner Stronach Stables.
In addition to the Fairway Fun, Half Heaven won the My Charmer and the Wintergreen stakes at Turfway and was second in the Likely Exchange behind Ella Belle. Trainer Dale Romans said the next likely start for the New York-bred Half Heaven is a restricted turf stakes at Belmont.
Racing resumes Sunday at Turfway at 1:10 p.m. The track is dark Monday and Tuesday and then closes out the winter/spring meet with racing on Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Thursday is Fan Appreciation Night, with specials on beer and hot dogs, coupons for free popcorn and soft drinks, and prize giveaways.
Simulcasting continues year-round Wednesday through Sunday at Turfway, including turf and Polytrack racing from England.