Friday, January 27, 2012 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 27, 2012 – The gate will be full Saturday at Turfway Park for the $50,000 Forego Stakes, a 6 1/2 furlong race headed by accomplished sprinters looking to regain stakes-winning form.
Matthewsburg closed to win the Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) at Turfway in September but could not repeat that outcome over sealed muddy tracks in the Jimmy V Stakes at Churchill or the Sophomore Sprint Stakes at Mountaineer. He returned to Turfway in the Holiday Cheer Stakes on New Year's Eve, broke last in the field of 11, and finished fifth after a very wide trip. Two of the colt's three career wins have come at Turfway, however, and he has been training well over the Polytrack, clocking :59.80 for five furlongs last Saturday in his most recent work, second-fastest of 15 at that distance that day. Victor Lebron rides for trainer Mike Maker.
Tend won this race last year and will break from post 10 Saturday to defend his title. A multiple small-stakes winner, Tend won a high level optional allowance in the slop at Churchill in November two starts back but was fourth last out, beaten three lengths, in his first start at Turfway since last year’s Forego. The 7-year-old boasts an excellent record on all-weather surfaces—six wins, two seconds, and two thirds in 14 starts—and will look to add another win on Saturday under jockey John McKee for trainer Joe Woodard.
Hollywood Hit’s 10th-place finish in the Holiday Cheer, his most recent start, can safely be ignored. Normally on or just off the lead, the graded stakes winner stumbled out of the gate in that race and never got involved. Two starts back he was fourth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the Kennedy Road Stakes (G3) on the Polytrack at Woodbine. Fourteen of his 20 career starts have come over all-weather surfaces and he has seven wins, two seconds and a third to show for it. A best-of-17 four-furlong breeze in :47.20 at Turfway on Jan. 18 reaffirmed his affinity for Polytrack. Rodney Prescott will boot him out of post five for trainer Wayne Mogge.
The field for the Forego, 4-year-olds and up, from the rail out: Kind Regards (jockey Constantino Roman); Plutonium (Luis Martinez Jr.); Attractive Ride (Marcelino Pedroza Jr.); Live From Appollo, second in the Holiday Cheer (Ben Creed); Hollywood Hit; Banjammer (Jason Lumpkins); Matthewsburg; Grand Daddy (Julio Felix); Pass the Crown (Perry Ouzts); Tend; Unsaddled Glory (Aldo Canchano); and Dynamite Bob (Albin Jiminez). Graded stakes-placed St. Maximus Gato remains on the also-eligible list.
The Forego is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card. First post is 1:10 p.m.