Sunday, September 7, 2008 12:00 AM
Florence, KY . . . September 7, 2008 . . . A full field of 10 American Quarter Horses entered Friday’s inaugural $25,000-guaranteed John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes at Turfway Park on Friday, September 12. The race marks the national debut for racing American Quarter Horses on Polytrack.
Quarter Horses last raced at the Florence, Ky., oval in 1972 when the track was known as Latonia. American Quarter Horses currently have two pari-mutuel dates in Kentucky, running at The Red Mile in Lexington. At this year's meet, July 18 and 19, horses from 25 states competed.
The John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes, for three year olds and upwards, covers 330 yards. The purse carries black-type status in American Quarter Horse racing and includes a $5,000 John Deere premium for Bank of America Challenge-enrolled horses.
Several of the horses entered for the sprint ran at the recent Red Mile meet, including Georgia Halo and Run Likea Streaker, one-two in the 330-yard Los Alamitos Stakes, and Jessluvchicks, who won the John Deere Lexington Challenge Sprint Stakes.
"It's great to see horsemen who supported us at The Red Mile come back for this important race," said Anne Doolin, executive director of the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association. "We have horses shipping in from Georgia, North Carolina and Michigan to join three from Kentucky and one from Ohio. It's a very competitive field and should provide us a good grasp of how Quarter Horses will handle a markedly different racing surface. There's buzz about this race all over the country."
Georgia Halo and Jessluvchicks will line up side-by-side on the outside. Faye Meeks' homebred Georgia Halo drew post nine, with regular rider Shanley Jackson aboard for trainer Randy Brown, and Jeannette Hoover's Jessluvchicks drew the outside post. The six-year-old gelding's usual jockey, Harold Collins, rides for trainer Ron Raper.
The Los Al win is Georgia Halo's only previous start this year. A six-year-old stallion by Thoroughbred sire Gran's Halo, he has six wins from 21 starts, including three of seven attempts at 330 yards, and earnings of $35,659.
Jessluvchicks has five wins and a third in seven starts this year, including a win at River Downs August 12. Of his $49,392 career earnings, $37,031 has come in 2008. His trainer, Michigan-based Ron Raper, was the leading trainer at The Red Mile in 2007and 2008 and ranks among the top 10 trainers nationally.
Those two stakes winners will likely face stiff competition just to their inside. Ray Cunningham's Dials Struttin, with two wins and four seconds in her last six outings, drew post eight. Juan Delgado will ride for Michigan-based trainer Tony Cunningham.
Run Likea Streaker, the Los Al runner-up and one of two entered by North Carolina-based James Locklear, landed in the seven hole. Owned by Stanford Locklear, Run Likea Streaker has the services of Oscar Delgado in the irons.
Oughttobecashedout, who drew post four, is winless in five starts this year but was beaten just a neck her last two outings and ran third in her other three. Owner/trainer Neil Schnecker, from just north of Cincinnati, tabbed Joddie Fortner to ride.
The balance of the field: Wrs Sweet Date [post one, Carter Riley to ride]; Georgia Ryon [post two, Howard Pierce]; Streakin Copper Buff [post three, Kelvin Brewer]; Little Bit Whimsy [post five, Tommy Johns]; and Ridin a Easy Streak [post six, John Mitchener]. Both Wrs Sweet Date and Jessluvchicks supplemented to the race.
The John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes is carded as race 11. The race will be broadcast via the Turfway Park simulcast signal and will be highlighted on the TVG Network. First race post time is 7 p.m.
Gate-break test set for Tuesday
A couple of Quarter Horses will break from the starting gate in a 330-yard practice work on Tuesday, September 9, at 10:15 a.m. The exercise will gauge how Quarter Horses, who break differently from Thoroughbreds, will handle Polytrack on the break.
One of the two, three-year-old Streakin Traffic, was raffled off at The Red Mile just before he broke his maiden. His new owner, Dave Holzwarth of Georgetown, Ky., recently retired from a career in state government and is thoroughly enjoying his new hobby. Streakin Traffic is the first racehorse for Holzwarth and his wife Sandy, who have reining Quarter Horses.
For further information on the race, contact KyQHRA Executive Director Anne Doolin at 859-983-0520 or visit the Kentucky Quarter Horse Racing Association website at www.kyqhra.com.