Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., March 3, 2011 – Positive Response, Blue Laser, and Twinspired lead a field of nine three-year-olds entered for the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (listed) at Turfway Park Saturday. At 1 1/16 miles, the race is the final local prep for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) later this month.
Positive Response comes in to the Battaglia after finishing third, beaten just two lengths, in the El Camino Real (G3) on the all-weather track at Golden Gate three weeks ago. Immediately before that he collected three straight wins, including the Gold Rush and California Derby stakes, also at Golden Gate. In seven starts on all-weather surfaces he has four wins and two seconds, showing versatility in running style. He is training very well at Golden Gate, posting a best-of-66 five furlongs in early February and going four furlongs in :48 flat last Sunday, fifth-fastest of 104 at that distance. Trainer William Morey ships him in for the Battaglia, with Julien Couton in to ride.
Blue Laser won the Grey Stakes (G3) on the Polytrack at Woodbine in October but has not raced since he failed to finish the Delta Jackpot (G3) in November. He was taken out of that race when Aces N Kings blew the far turn and bolted into Blue Laser’s path. Before that misfortune Blue Laser had two wins and a third in three starts, all at Woodbine. He has been training at Palm Meadows in Florida for his return and last week traveled to Ocala Training Center for a work over an all-weather surface, breezing five furlongs in one minute flat, best of six at the distance that day. He can set the pace but is equally at home off the pace. Mark Casse trains. John McKee has the mount.
Twinspired won the second local prep for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, turning a wide trip into a 4 1/4-length win in the one-mile WEBN Stakes at Turfway a month ago. He is two-for-five in his young career, with both wins over all-weather surfaces. Mike Maker trains. Corey Lanerie comes in to ride Twinspired for the first time.
R Fast Cat, also trained by Maker, closed mightily to be second in the WEBN, while Taptowne, trained by Wayne Mogge, closed to finish third. Both are back for the Battaglia.
The Battaglia Memorial field from the rail out: Admiral Perry (jockey Ben Creed); Blue Laser (McKee); Adulare (Irwin Rosendo); Night Party (Fabio Arguello Jr.); R Fast Cat (Victor Lebron); Positive Response (Couton); Son of Posse (Rafael Mojica Jr.); Taptowne (Rodney Prescott); and Twinspired (Lanerie).
The 29th running of the Battaglia Memorial is the ninth of 12 races on Saturday's card. First post is 5:30 p.m.
The Battaglia Memorial is named in memory of former Turfway general manager John A. Battaglia, who in the early 1970s first envisioned the Kentucky Derby prep race that has become the $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, set for its 40th running on March 26.