Monday, September 7, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 7, 2009 . . . As part of its 50th anniversary celebration that begins with the opening of the fall meet on Wednesday, Turfway Park has launched an interactive project highlighting 50 accomplished horses that have raced at the track since it opened in 1959.
The Top 50 Horses list was compiled by former local turf writers Jack Hicks and Jack Murray, current Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Richard Skinner, track historian Dr. James Claypool, track president Robert Elliston, track announcer Mike Battaglia, and Turfway's racing secretary, Rick Leigh.
The project team chose but did not rank its top 10 horses and then ranked the remaining 40. Fans are invited to weigh in by rating the team's top 10 or arguing for their own picks. All 50 horses’ career stats, the poll, and the related blog, Turfway Talkback, are available at www.turfway.com.
Among the team's top 10 are Alysheba and Point Given, both voted Horse of the Year, and Marfa, the first Jim Beam Stakes (now Lane's End Stakes) winner to bring national attention to Turfway’s Kentucky Derby prep.
Fans also are invited to contribute memories of horses that would comprise a different kind of "top" list for Turfway: hard-knocking, blue-collar horses whose fan base is mostly local or regional. The undisputed king of that list is likely Perennial, who made 216 starts before retiring in 1982 at age 15. Of his 46 wins, 31 came at Turfway (then Latonia).
The track's website also offers a nine-minute video about the history of Turfway and links to other video memories posted at YouTube. Fans are invited to reminisce about their experiences at the track, also via Turfway Talkback.