Thursday, January 1, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 1, 2009 . . . The first stakes race of Turfway Park’s new winter/spring meet is also the first chance to gauge hopefuls for the Lane's End Stakes later in the meet. Saturday's $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes, written for three-year-olds racing 6 1/2 furlongs, is the first of three local prep races for the Lane's End, which is in turn a major prep for the Kentucky Derby.
Rudy Flyer will make his second career start in the Turfway Prevue after winning his first race, a maiden special weight, by 8 3/4 lengths. That front-running win came at Turfway at the Turfway Prevue distance and earned the colt the top Equibase pace and speed figures among the Prevue field. Rudy Flyer is trained at Turfway by Bill Connelly, who finished second in the just-completed holiday meet standings, and again will be ridden by John McKee.
Gimmeawinn broke his maiden by nine lengths and followed up with a 1 1/2-length allowance win, both over off tracks at Mountaineer. He followed the leader before drawing off to win his first race and led gate to wire to win his second. Michael Baird trains and calls on Orlando Mojica, who got hot in the second half of the holiday meet, to ride.
The holiday meet's leading rider, Tom Pompell, has the mount on Back to Gold, who comes into the Turfway Prevue on the strength of back-to-back, off-the-pace sprint wins at Hawthorne. Back to Gold posted a best-of-34 bullet work at Hawthorne on Monday, breezing four furlongs from the gate in :49.60. He has one start on Polytrack, a fourth-place finish at Arlington in his second race. Moises Yanez trains.
Melo came from off the pace to win his first race, an $80,000 claiming event in the mud at Churchill Downs, by three lengths, but he tired and finished ninth while going a mile on the same track rated fast. The move back to sprint distance holds promise; the switch to Polytrack is an unknown. Rex Stokes III rides for trainer Dale Romans.
Completing the field of 10 are Dixiessaltshaker (jockey Azael De Leon); two-time winner Loch Dubh (Victor Lebron); Sirius Black (Gavin Faulkner); Sundays Baby Grand (Eddie Zuniga); Bullnose Brick (Leandro Goncalves); and Codeofthebayou (Mathieu Adam).
The Turfway Prevue is the 11th of 12 races on Saturday's card. First post is 1:10pm.
After the Turfway Prevue at sprint distance, the second local prep for the Lane's End Stakes is the one-mile WEBN Stakes on January 31. The third and final local prep for the Lane's End is the 1 1/16-mile John A. Battaglia Memorial Stakes on February 28.