Friday, November 27, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . November 27, 2009 . . . The $50,000 Holiday Inaugural Stakes, Sunday's opening day feature at Turfway Park, has drawn a dozen, including stakes winners and graded-stakes-placed runners. Barring scratches, the gate will be full for the six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares ages three years and up.
Early this year Proud Heiress won the Wishing Well Stakes and was runner-up in the Queen, both at Turfway. She next traveled to Woodbine to finish third in the Whimsical Stakes and second in the Hendrie, both grade 3, losing the latter by a neck to Smart Surprise, who went on to win her next two starts, both stakes. Proud Heiress, a five-year-old mare based at Turfway, has a 3-4-2 record in 11 starts on all-weather surfaces and likes to come from off the pace, occasionally far off. She will carry 124 pounds, co-highweight with Coy Cat and Nicks.
The Hendrie was run in May and Proud Heiress has been off since then, but trainer Wayne Mogge said she's training well, posting a best-of-six, three-furlong breeze in :36 Wednesday. “We just gave her a little break,” said Mogge. "We made a couple of long road trips to Woodbine, and she ran into a couple of really tough grade 3s there and ran her eyeballs out. She's a big, heavy-made mare so we decided to give her the time off and start back in the winter stakes at Turfway."
Coy Cat ran fourth in an optional allowance on the turf at Churchill November 12, her first start since April. A versatile four-year-old who also comes from off the pace, she has two seconds on all-weather surfaces in four tries, three wins on turf from firm to yielding, and won once and placed five times on dirt. Her most recent published work was a second-of-18, five-furlong breeze in 1:01.60 at Churchill early this month. Paul McGee trains.
Nicks is new to Turfway but not to all-weather racing. Trained by Christine Janks, the five-year-old mare has a 4-1-2 record in 9 starts on Arlington's Polytrack. A multiple restricted-stakes winner, she comes in off a runner-up finish in the Powerless Handicap on the dirt at Hawthorne four weeks ago.
Unraced until June of this year, three-year-old Just Memories steps up to stakes competition after a strong first-year campaign to date. She has three wins, one on each surface, and one second and two thirds in six starts for trainer Bill Connelly. She most recently was second in a Keeneland turf allowance, and she breezed five furlongs last Saturday in 1:00.40, second-fastest of 40 at the distance. She has post 11 to overcome; in all three wins and the second she made the lead early.
The field from the rail out: Candy Cane (118, Israel Ocampo); Lady's Laughter (116, Freddie Lenclud); Step Out Smartly (116, Leandro Gonçalves), Simply Seattle (118, John McKee); Proud Heiress (124, Julio Felix); Nicks (124, Dean Sarvis); Miss A. Bomb (118, Tom Pompell); Minewander (118, Larry Melancon); Coy Cat (124, Larry Sterling Jr.); School Girl (118, Jon Court); Just Memories (116, Ben Creed); and She's Extreme (116, Miguel Mena).
First post Sunday is 1:10pm. The day starts Turfway's annual Holiday Meet, which ends December 31 and segues without interruption into the three-month Winter/Spring Meet beginning January 1.