Saturday, February 5, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Feb. 5, 2011 – Twinspired proved a deserving favorite and impressive winner in the $50,000 WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, putting away Taptowne with a furlong to go and drawing off to win by 4 1/4 lengths. R Fast Cat was second, a head better than Taptowne in the photo for place.
Winning rider Jozbin Santana had to adjust his game plan but the change made no difference to Twinspired. "I was sitting in a perfect spot around the first turn," said Santana. "I was on the best horse and I was on the outside, just waiting until the three-eighths pole to let the horse run. But the 11 horse (Taptowne) came at me a little bit earlier so I had to move so I wouldn’t be stuck behind heels. But my horse responded really well."
Twinspired cruised along about four lengths off the pace as Military Jewel set the first quarter in :23.66 and the half in :47.67. Past the halfway point of the mile race, Taptowne made the bold bid that forced Santana's hand and took the lead, setting the three-quarter mark at 1:13.42 with Twinspired a head behind. The two drew away from the field and raced together for a furlong, but at the eighth pole Santana asked Twinspired for more and the race was his. R Fast Cat closed from last to catch Taptowne in the last jump. Final time for the mile was 1:41.57.
Behind R Fast Cat were Cuvee's Image, Paige Me, Champion Kid, Drifting Wind, Practical Justice, Bluegrass Dreamer, Banjammer, Sir Rudy, and Military Jewel. Faisal Prince and Grandpa Gibby scratched.
Off at 3-2, Twinspired returned $5 for the win, $3.60 to place, and $2.60 to show.
The WEBN Stakes is the second of three local preps for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway, itself a prep for the Kentucky Derby (G1). When asked whether Twinspired would return for the third prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes in exactly a month, and then the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes March 26, co-owner David Koenig of Sand Dollar Stable said, "He ran a big race, but we'll defer those questions to (trainer) Mike Maker. But how's this: when we bought him, the plan was the Kentucky Derby, and we're working backwards from there."
The co-owners—Daniel Johnson's Alpha Stables, Harvey Diamond's Skychai Racing LLC and Sand Dollar LLC—purchased Twinspired for $140,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale last May. He has two wins from five career starts and earnings of $62,530. The WEBN is his first stakes win. Bred in Kentucky by John Jain, Lawrence Opas, and Frank Sinatra, Twinspired is by Harlan's Holiday out of the El Prado mare Historical Drive.
Racing continues at Turfway on Sunday at noon, the early post to accommodate the Super Bowl.