Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 17, 2009 . . . An overflow field of 14 two-year-old fillies signed up for the $50,000 Gowell Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, with a maximum of 12 to start.
The field promises sufficient speed to set the race up for a filly to come from off the pace, and the likely contender in that category is Involved, a daughter of champion sprinter Speightstown. She comes in to the six-furlong Gowell off two straight wins, including one on the Polytrack at Keeneland. Although she ran that race for a $40,000 tag, her next start, on the dirt at Churchill Downs, moved her up to starter allowance class. Her unremarkable workouts might give pause were she not two-for-two in the afternoon. Fabio Arguello Jr. rides for trainer Ken McPeek.
Offlee Funny also could pick up pieces left by early speed. She has been versatile in her two career starts, winning her debut by 10 lengths after stalking the pace and then finishing third, beaten 3 1/2 lengths, after trailing the field. Both races came over all-weather surfaces at Presque Isle and Woodbine. Hot apprentice Freddie Lenclud will ride for trainer Walt Bindner.
Rapid Racer appeared not to like the dirt at Churchill Downs in her third and most recent start, when she was beaten nearly 18 lengths in allowance company. Previously, however, she was third (placed second) in her debut at Arlington, where her maiden special race was taken off the turf and run on Polytrack, and she next comfortably won a maiden special on the Polytrack at Keeneland. John McKee will ride for trainer Paul McGee.
Early speed is likely from Oceans of Honey, trained by Odin Londono Jr. and also two-for-two. The second win was a half-length turf score in the Tippett Stakes at Colonial Downs in July, and though she has not raced since then, she is training well, posting a best-of-46 on the dirt at Hawthorne on Sunday. She won her first race, a maiden special at Suffolk Downs, by 7 1/4 lengths and has led at every call in both her races. She is co-highweight with For Royalty at 122 pounds, ceding four to six pounds to her rivals. The all-weather surface at Turfway and the layoff are also questions. Jordano Tunon comes in to ride.
Unless Backtoblack draws in from the also-eligible list, Nautical Nonsense will be the only starter with a win over Turfway’s Polytrack. She won that race, a maiden special, by racing on the lead, and at one point opened five lengths on the field. Tony Farina is back aboard for trainer Michael Lauer.
The Gowell field from the rail out: Opportunity's Here (jockey Dean Sarvis); Offlee Wild; Zippy Larry (Perry Ouzts); Rapid Racer; Oceans of Honey; Involved; For Royalty, winner of the Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies Stakes in August (Larry Sterling Jr.); Mission Vow (Rodney Prescott); Maddie's Odyssey (Rex Stokes III); Nautical Nonsense; Ledge's Monarchos (Sal Gonzalez Jr.); and Henry's Posse (Orlando Mojica). Pollard's Babe and Backtoblack, both frontrunners, wait on the also-eligible list.
The Gowell is the 10th of 11 races on Saturday, with first post at 1:10pm. The race is named for the winner of the 1913 Latonia Derby.