Friday, January 6, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 6, 2012 – The local Derby season kicks off Saturday as a full gate of new 3-year-olds lines up for the $50,000 Turfway Prevue Stakes. The six-furlong race is the first of three local prep races for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) on March 24, itself a prep for the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Circus Clown has improved in each of his three starts, one each on the dirt at Hoosier Park, the Polytrack at Keeneland, and a sloppy sealed track at Churchill Downs, but the Teuflesberg colt has yet to win. He has been training steadily and well over the all-weather surface at Highpoint Training Center. Circus Clown gets his fourth rider in Ben Creed Saturday. Walt Bindner trains.
Jasizzle has improved in each of his three starts as well and broke his maiden at Turfway on Dec. 16. Perry Ouzts was aboard for that maiden special and returns for the Turfway Prevue. The Jazil gelding likes to lead the charge, a preference made easier by drawing post four, and Ouzts is well known for getting out of the gate in a hurry. Tommy Mills owns and trains.
Owner William Butler, trainer Mike Maker, and jockey Victor Lebron teamed up to win the Gowell Stakes with Lotta Lovin in late December and are back for the Turfway Prevue with Magical Season. The gelding broke his maiden at first asking on the turf at Colonial Downs and has bounced around a bit since then, finishing off the board while in for a claim next out on the Delaware dirt and then finishing second in the Laurel Futurity on the turf. Maker next tried unsuccessfully to stretch him out in two allowances on the turf at Churchill Downs. The Turfway Prevue returns Magical Season to sprinting for his first attempt on Polytrack.
Maker also trains Mr. Prankster, who was over his head in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November but a solid runner-up in the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Stakes on the all-weather surface at Presque Isle in October. The Turfway Prevue is his first start since the Jockey Club Stakes. John McKee rides.
The field for the Turfway Prevue from the rail out: Midnight Legacy (jockey Azael De Leon); Jonmil Johnny (Brandon Whitacre); Circus Clown; Jasizzle; Desert Doc, who beat Jasizzle two starts back (Rafael Mojica Jr.); Salvatore G (Rodney Prescott); Magical Season; Little Kick (Constantino Roman); Mr. Prankster; D'Wildcat Road (Roberto Morales); Win for Morgan (Sal Gonzalez Jr.); and Frankie is Rock (Julio Felix). My Friend Steve and Sunday Mass remain on the also-eligible list.
The second local prep for the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes is the one-mile WEBN Stakes on Feb. 4. The third and final local prep is the 1 1/16-mile John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on March 3.
The Turfway Prevue goes as the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card. First post is 5:30 p.m.