Saturday, December 17, 2011 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 17, 2011 – The finish line for the Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday came just in time for Proceed Bee, who held off a tremendous late surge by Wealth to Me to win by a head. Matty's Trail was third, three more lengths back.
With Rodney Prescott aboard, Proceed Bee broke from the outside post in the field of 10 and settled half a dozen lengths off the lead through the first half-mile. Up front, Plutonium and Becky's Kitten swapped the lead in a sizzling :22.73, :45.87, and 1:11.09, a pace that would not hold for the 1 1/8-mile distance. Meanwhile, Wealth to Me had broken poorly, was nearly 18 lengths off the lead at the half-mile mark, and still nearly 12 lengths back after six of the nine furlongs.
Proceed Bee was the widest of five coming around the final turn and led the field into the stretch, but Greta Kuntzweiler had Wealth to Me rolling hard by mid-stretch and turned what looked like a done deal into a photo finish. The final time was 1:52.30.
"They wanted me to lay off the pace " said Prescott. "They set a pretty good pace up front so it set up good for us. We were just trying to hold off that one Greta was on. My horse was definitely giving me what he had, but the eight horse was coming at us late, and luckily the wire was there."
Cryptolight completed the Superfecta, followed by Denham; the 9-5 favorite Mad Flatter, who was one of those bidding on the turn for home; Plutonium; Becky's Kitten; William's Kitten; and Stream Cat. Cool C Note was an early scratch.
Proceed Bee was the 7-2 second choice and paid $9.40, $4.80, and $3.60.
The Prairie Bayou is the second stakes win at Turfway for Proceed Bee, who as a 3-year-old won the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes before finishing third in the Grade 2 Lane's End (now Grade 3 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes), both also with Prescott in the irons. A graded-stakes winner by Bernstein out of Procession, by Private Terms, Proceed Bee now has 12 wins and five thirds in 28 starts. The winner's share of the Prairie Bayou's $50,000 purse pushed the 5-year-old gelding's career earnings to $639,371.
Proceed Bee is owned by William Stiritz and trained by Scott Becker. He was bred in Kentucky by Hunter Valley Farm, H & W Thoroughbreds, and Mary Wade.
Racing at Turfway continues Sunday at 1:10 p.m.