Friday, February 4, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb 4, 2011 – Banjammer, second by the barest nose in the first local prep for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3), returns Saturday to try for the win the second prep, the $50,000 WEBN Stakes. Fourteen three-year-olds were entered for the one-mile WEBN, with 12 the maximum to start.
Despite being squeezed back at the start and getting away from the gate dead last in the first prep, the Turfway Prevue sprint on Jan. 8, Banjammer powered seven wide into the stretch and barely missed catching the winner. He likes to come from behind in any case, and the WEBN Stakes will give him more room to unwind his late run. Banjammer comes into the race off a four-furlong work last Saturday, one of two timed as best of 27 over the Polytrack at Keeneland. Bed Creed was aboard for his last two races, including a maiden special win at Turfway two starts back, and has the call again for trainer Eric Reed.
Reed also trains Drifting Wind, the other colt who posted the bullet in the Keeneland work. Drifting Wind comes into the WEBN with just one start behind him, a come-from-behind win in a maiden special at Turfway in mid-January. He stumbled leaving the gate in that race but still got the two-length score, and the work with stablemate Banjammer was the third of three consecutive bullet works at Keeneland. Scott Spieth will ride.
After finishing off the board in his first race and third in his second, Taptowne put it together to score by more than eight lengths in his third and most recent start, a maiden special at Turfway on his last day as a two-year-old. He raced on or near the lead during that race at 5 1/2 furlongs, so distance is a question. Rodney Prescott rides for trainer Wayne Mogge.
Distance is a question for most of the field, as expected for developing three-year-olds. All but five will stretch out to two turns for the first time, and only two have wins at the distance: R Fast Cat, who won a maiden special at Turfway Jan. 8, and Military Jewel, who set all the pace in a maiden special at Turfway as a two-year-old but was soundly beaten in the Turfway Prevue.
The WEBN Stakes field from the rail out: Faisal Prince (jockey Sal Gonzalez Jr.); Banjammer (Creed); Cuvee's Image (Rafael Mojica Jr.); Champion Kid (Rick Knott); R Fast Cat (Greta Kuntzweiler); Drifting Wind (Spieth); Bluegrass Dreamer, beaten by six lengths to be third in the Prevue (John McKee); Paige Me (Thomas Pompell); Military Jewel (Perry Ouzts); Grandpa Gibby (Aldo Canchano); Taptowne (Prescott); and Twinspired (Jozbin Santana).
Saturday ushers in Saturday Night Lights at Turfway, when post time moves to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday for the first time. The WEBN Stakes is the 10th of 12 races on the card. The race, formerly the Presidents Stakes, has been sponsored by Cincinnati rock radio station WEBN since 2002 and occasions the WEBN Stakes Party, a event now in its 10th rowdy year.
The 1 1/16-mile $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, the final local prep for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, runs exactly one month after the WEBN.