Thursday, March 5, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 5, 2009 . . . Recent Turfway Park stakes winners Kiss With a Twist and Unspoken Word return to the track Saturday for the 27th running of the Wintergreen Stakes.
Unspoken Word comes in to the Wintergreen off back-to-back wins at Turfway, including the Likely Exchange Stakes a month ago. Both wins came at the Wintergreen's mile distance, and she won both by setting a sensible pace and drawing off to win by multiple lengths. The 5-year-old mare is trained by the meet's leading trainer, Mike Maker, and ridden by the meet's leading jockey, Victor Lebron.
After stumbling at the start, Kiss With a Twist closed from far back to win the My Charmer Stakes at 1 1/16 miles in early December. The Wintergreen is her first start since that race. Two starts back she tracked the pace, briefly took the lead, and finished a game third, beaten just half a length, in the 1 1/8 mile Cardinal Handicap (G3) on yielding turf at Churchill Downs. She was impressively consistent in 2008, with three wins, one second, and three thirds in nine starts, and has a three-for-five record on all-weather surfaces, including an optional allowance win at Keeneland three starts back. Billy Troilo will be aboard the 5-year-old mare for the first time. Jose Fernandez trains.
Kiss With a Twist and Unspoken Word will break side by side from posts seven and eight, respectively, in the field of nine.
The Wintergreen is just the third career start for Steady Prospect, a 4-year-old daughter of A. P. Indy. She comes in off a maiden win at Turfway in which she obliterated the field, setting a slow pace over 1 1/16 miles and relentlessly drawing off to win by 10 1/4 lengths. In her first start, also at Turfway, she trailed the field but closed to finish fourth in the field of 11. She will break from the rail with Rodney Prescott aboard for trainer Jeff Thornbury.
Also entered for the $50,000 Wintergreen are Marquee Delivery, making her first start since early November (jockey Orlando Mojica); Valentine Fever (Tom Pompell); De Star Xpress, recently twice third in Gulfstream optional allowances (Leandro Gonçalves); Park At Dark, also trained by Thornbury (John McKee); One Million Carats (Otto Thorwarth); and Ready to Rock, an allowance winner last out (Azael De Leon).
The Wintergreen is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card. First post is 1:10 p.m.
Also on the schedule for Saturday is the third annual Irish Day at the Races, presented by the Fenians of Northern Kentucky and sponsored by Killian’s Irish Red. Beginning at noon on the third floor, fans can enjoy Irish dancing, Irish music, and food from Molly Malone's, and shop vendors offering Irish handcrafts. There is no admission charge to the track or to Irish Day at the Races.