Saturday, March 1, 2008 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 1, 2008 . . . Absolutely Cindy swept around the final turn and right into the Turfway Park history books Saturday, becoming the first filly to win the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes.
Dead last of 11 down the backstretch, Absolutely Cindy powered six-wide around the final turn in an explosive closing charge that left Your Round second by 1 3/4 lengths. Dixie Decision closed to finish third, another 6 1/2 lengths behind.
"I went really wide because I didn't want to get her in traffic, and I knew I had plenty of horse," said winning jockey Orlando Mojica.
Describing the filly's last race, a sixth-place finish behind undefeated champion Indian Blessing in the Grade III Silverbulletday, owner/trainer Keith Kinmon said, "We had shipped her to Fair Grounds, and Indian Blessing was in the race. [Jockey] Julien [Leparoux] got a little worried about speed carrying and made her lay close, and she stopped real bad. He realized it and wrapped up on her, didn't try to push her.
"I told Orlando, 'Do not change her running style. This filly wants to come from the clouds.'"
Mr. Harry set the pace as expected, clocking :23.60, :45.78, and 1:11.35 before a steadily advancing Your Round passed him heading into the stretch. The race appeared to belong to the new leader, but Absolutely Cindy left absolutely no doubt of the outcome once she straightened for the stretch drive. She finished the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia Memorial in 1:44.69. Kinmon had more faith in his filly than did the bettors, who sent her off at 19.80-1. She paid $41.60, $13.80, and $6.60.
Kinmon also bred Absolutely Cindy, a hometown favorite who trains at Turfway. A Kentucky-bred by Arch out of Ms. Boucheron, the 3-year-old filly now has 3 wins, 2 seconds, and 3 thirds from 10 starts for career earnings of $163,374. Asked whether he would bring her back on Lane’s End Stakes day, either for the headline race or the Grade III Bourbonette for fillies, Kinmon indicated she next would start in the Grade I Ashland at Keeneland.
Big Glen, winner of the WEBN, had to steady before finding room to split horses and finished fourth. Briarwood Circle, the 5-2 favorite, never got into the race and finished last.
Final order of finish was Absolutely Cindy, Your Round, Dixie Decision, Big Glen, Halo's King, Mr. Harry, Beneficiary, Cherokee Triangle, Best Buddy, Instill, and Briarwood Circle.
The Battaglia Memorial is the last of three local preps for the Grade II Lane's End Stakes, which runs March 22. The race is named for John Battaglia, general manager of Turfway when it was known as Latonia. Battaglia envisioned and developed the race that has become the Lane’s End Stakes.
Racing continues at Turfway on Sunday, with first post at 1:10pm.