Thursday, December 23, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 23, 2010 – A dozen two-year-old fillies will contest the six-furlong Gowell Stakes at Turfway Park on Sunday, vying not only for the $50,000 purse but also to mark themselves as players in the track's series of stakes for three-year-old fillies over the next three months.
Likely to head the field is the filly with the least experience. Michael Pino ships in Rein in Avaricity, with Luis Contreras to ride. Rein in Avaricity broke her maiden on her first try, a November 20 maiden special on Woodbine's Polytrack. Leading the 11-filly field nearly every step, she shook off early pressure and carried a four-length lead from the top of the stretch to the wire. She has been training steadily and well at Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland on an all-weather surface similar to Turfway's Polytrack.
Golden Phoenix comes into the Gowell off two straight wins, the first a claiming race at Churchill on the dirt in which she set all the pace and the second an optional allowance at Turfway two weeks ago in which she came from off the early pace by virtue of a poor start. The Turfway win also leans in her favor because she raced extremely wide turn into the stretch and still won by almost four lengths. She has been training on Polytrack as well. The Gowell will be her seventh start for trainer Chuck Peery. Apprentice Marcelino Pedroza, the meet's leading rider, was aboard for the Turfway win and will be back aboard Sunday.
Musical Prodigy, trained by Phil Sims, brings additional speed to the Gowell. She was never in contention in her first effort, a maiden special on the Polytrack at Keeneland, but figured things out 11 days later in a front-running maiden special win at Turfway. Jon Court comes in to ride.
If speed wears itself down, Mai Tai Mama could pick up the pieces. She has the disadvantage of the outside post but as a closer she won’t have to push early. She is one-for-two on all-weather surfaces, having won a maiden claimer at Keeneland in October, and was second last out in a starter allowance on the dirt at Aqueduct. Tom Pompell rides for trainer Eric Reed.
The Gowell from the rail out: Miss Sarah Brown (jockey Rodney Prescott); Martha’s Shadow (Ben Creed); Brushfirefairytale (John McKee); Golden Phoenix; Angelica Zapata (Perry Ouzts); Rory's Dividend, part of an entry with Splendor Town, with Greta Kuntzweiler named on both at the moment; Rein in Avaricity; Bach Hamilton (Amanda Tamburello); Musical Prodigy; Splendor Town; Dr. Diamonds Prize (Jozbin Santana); and Mai Tai Mama. Hare Prize and Somethinevenbetter are also-eligible.
The Gowell is the ninth of 10 races on Sunday, the first of eight straight days of holiday racing at Turfway. First post all week is 1:10pm except New Year’s Eve, when post time is 5:30pm.
Turfway's winter/spring series for three-year-old fillies includes the Cincinnati Trophy Stakes in January, the Valdale Stakes in February, and the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks in March, a prep for the Kentucky Oaks.