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Saturday’s 96ROCK Stakes Starts Path to Spiral Stakes

Thursday, January 30, 2014 5:35 PM
  • General
  • Spiral Stakes

Saturday’s 96ROCK Stakes Starts Path to Spiral Stakes
Companion Party Always a Fan Favorite

FLORENCE, Ky. (Jan. 30, 2014) – Eight 3-year-old colts and geldings will take a step toward the Horseshoe Casino Spiral Stakes when they face off in the $60,000 96ROCK Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park.

Trainer Mike Maker fields two of the top contenders for the 96ROCK Stakes, shortened this year from a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs.  Artemus Coalmine has two career starts, and both have come over Turfway’s Polytrack.  He was the front-running speed in both, winning a maiden special on Dec. 27 at the 96ROCK distance and coming back two weeks later to finish second by a neck in a mile optional allowance. Albin Jimenez, the meet’s top rider, was aboard for both starts and is back to ride Saturday.  Artemus Coalmine is owned by the powerhouse stable of Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and the Ramsey-Maker-Jimenez combination has been tough to beat at Turfway.

Maker also will saddle Harry’s Holiday.  The son of Harlan’s Holiday was fifth last out in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay on Jan. 4, a seven furlong effort, but two starts back he came from off the pace to win an optional starter allowance Dec. 20 among the always-tough youngsters at Gulfstream Park.  He broke his maiden at first asking on the dirt at Churchill and was claimed out of that race by Terry Raymond, co-owner now with Harry Diamond’s Skychai Racing. Jockey Jeremy Rose makes the journey to Turfway for his first ride on Harry’s Holiday. 

The question for Harry’s Holiday is Turfway’s Polytrack. The son of Harlan’s Holiday has no starts and shows no works over an all-weather surface.

Bisque brings a gritty stakes win to the 96ROCK Stakes, a head victory in the state-restricted Indiana Futurity in October, run at a mile on a sloppy sealed track.  Trainer Tom Amoss gave him a couple of months off after that effort and brought him back in late December to win a 5 1/2 furlong optional allowance at Fair Grounds that was shifted from the turf to another sloppy sealed track.  Like Harry’s Holiday, Bisque shows neither starts nor workouts on an all-weather surface, but he won his first start by more than seven lengths on the turf at Indiana Downs. Joseph Berrios gets the mount for the first time.

One plus for both Bisque and Harry’s Holiday: both have been training at southern tracks or training centers; recent sub-zero temperatures at Turfway have hampered training for Artemus Coalmine and others in the field and affected the number of entries as well.

The field for the 96ROCK Stakes from the rail out: Midnight Shine (jockey Rodney Prescott); Reflector (Lori Wydick); Dubaele (Alejandro Contreras); Harry’s Holiday; Bisque; Forfeit (Ben Creed); Artemus Coalmine; and I Need a Miracle (Perry Ouzts).  Bisque is the 96ROCK highweight at 122 pounds; the others carry 118 pounds.

The 96ROCK Stakes is the eighth of nine races on Saturday’s card.  First post is 1:10 p.m. 

The 96ROCK Stakes is one of two local preps this year for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes.  The second comes exactly a month later in the 1 1/16-mile John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on March 1.

Companion Party a Hit

Cincinnati radio station 96ROCK (WFTK) began sponsorship of the race in 2013 and backs up the race with an all-day party.  Tickets to the party are required but are free via on-air giveaways and at Turfway Park. This year’s party features regional ‘80s rock band Devils Due and a grand prize trip to Rock on the Range, a three-day music festival in Columbus, Ohio.  Partygoers will enjoy free food while it lasts, first come-first served, from Hooter’s, Drake’s, Snappy Tomato Pizza, Glier’s Goetta, Arby’s, Dunker’s Sports Bar, Claddagh Irish Pub, and Chuy’s.  Guests also can purchase their first beverage in a 96ROCK Koozie and enjoy discounted refills throughout the day. The party opens at noon on the third floor.  Guests must be at least 18 years old.

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