Saturday, September 20, 2008 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 20, 2008 . . . Vote Early took advantage of a wicked pace to snatch the $75,000 Weekend Delight just steps before the wire at Turfway Park Saturday. The race, a filly-and-mare sprint over Polytrack, was the first stakes victory for the five-year-old mare, trained by Steve Margolis.
Rated Feisty and Conjuress were first out of the gate, but Pola's Place flew past both along the rail, blazing quarters in :21.54 and :44.22 to open a two-length lead down the backstretch. Conjuress quickly fell back but Rated Feisty, herself rarely anywhere but first at every point of call in her career, tracked Pola's Place and passed her in deep stretch. By then, however, jockey Otto Thorwarth had Vote Early moving on the outside, nearly lifting her stride by stride to take the neck victory. Natalicat closed to take third, another 2 1/2 lengths back. Three-quarters of a length behind, Pola's Place stayed tough to win a photo for fourth, nosing out Valentine Fever. Final time for the six furlongs was 1:10.18.
"Her best running style is to sit a little off it and run her own race," said Margolis. "She doesn't like you to be in her mouth. Middle to outside horses were doing good today, and there was enough speed in the race, so even though she was in the two-hole I told Otto if he could stay in the middle and make a run, it would be our best bet.
"This is only her second time on the synthetic track. We've been shopping her around to different stakes—Iowa, Monmouth—trying to get some blacktype wins, and we finally got the stakes win with her. She's a sound filly and we might run her a little through December and January, but she's going to be six, so it worked out great for the Kleins and their breeding program. She'll be a good broodmare for them."
Steve Asmussen, who trains the 9-5 favorite Rated Feisty, said, "She's usually the one out front setting that pace, but she ran well and if she comes back all right I'm more than pleased."
Vote Early paid $30.80, $12.80, and $5.00 as the 14-1 seventh choice in the field of nine. The win improved her record to 5 wins, 5 seconds, and 2 thirds in 18 starts for earnings of $216,088 for owners Richard, Bertram and Elaine Klein.
Sixth and following were Proud Heiress, Victorianna, Clay's Angel, and Conjuress. The morning line favorite, Golden Doc A, and My Favorite Tune scratched.
New track record
Earlier on the card, Banbary Cross set a new track record when he won the 5 1/2 furlong 12th race in 1:03.30. Dylan Williams was aboard for trainer Jeff Thornbury and owner Overbrook Farm. Banbary Cross, a four-year-old son of Storm Cat, led at every call. The previous record was 1:03.34, set in December 2007 by First at Summer.
Live racing continues at Turfway on Sunday at 1:10pm. The track is open Monday and Tuesday for simulcasting, including the last two days of the six-day meet at Kentucky Downs, the country's only European-style turf track.