Ella Belle takes Likely Exchange
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 10, 2007 . . . On a day when speed was holding, jockey Miguel Mena coolly kept Joe Got Even off the pace as the horse prefers, and the plan paid off with a win in the $50,000 WEBN Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday.
"I had a little concern because speed was holding today," said winning trainer Phil Sims, "but we decided to stay with our game plan and make a big run like he wants to. He likes to settle just a little bit. He was in tight a couple of times but it didn't seem to bother him."
Carnacks Choice and Marianas traded the lead through moderate early fractions, with Joe Got Even running toward the inside in the middle of the 11-horse field. At the top of the stretch Mena threaded Joe Got Even between horses, asked for his run, and easily drew away to win by 4 1/2 lengths. Cobrador closed to finish second, a nose in front of Eighteenthofmarch.
The 8-5 favorite, Joe Got Even paid $5.40, $3.80, and $3.00. Final time for the one-mile WEBN was 1:39.73. Owned by Elizabeth Tobin and Joe Vaudo, Joe Got Even now owns three wins and one second in six starts for earnings of $87,839.
Completing the order of finish in the WEBN were Carnacks Choice, Danny Sez, Gun It, Cajun Mon, Matical Cat, Marianas, Loose Leaf, and Likely Candidate. Bubber and Dicey were early scratches.
The first stakes win for Joe Got Even, the WEBN is the second of three local preps for the Lane's End Stakes, set for March 24. Sims expects Joe Got Even to return to Turfway March 3 for the final prep, the 1 1/16-mile John A. Battaglia Memorial Stakes. Joe Got Even is a son of Stephen Got Even, who won the Galleryfurniture.com Stakes (now the Lane's End) in 1999.
Ella Belle takes Likely Exchange
Ella Belle's front-running style and a perfect ride from jockey Phil Teator took the two to the winner's circle in the $50,000 Likely Exchange for trainer William "Buff" Bradley.
"Phil did just what he was supposed to do," said Bradley. "He took her wide around the turn and that carries her momentum, like a slingshot. She doesn't like the rail. Her last race (a fourth place allowance finish), she had a bad break out of the gate and we knew she had no shot there. We have a lot of confidence in her. When she turned for home today, I knew she had it."
Half Heaven, the even-money favorite, broke quickly alongside Ella Belle before dropping back off the pace. She moved steadily up after the first half-mile and as Ella Belle came wide, Half Heaven moved to the rail to challenge, but the winner drew away and Half Heaven settled for second, 3 1/2 lengths back. Daring Julie was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third.
Final time for the one-mile Likely Exchange was 1:39.86. Off at 14-1, Ella Belle paid $30.00, $9.80, and $6.20.
Completing the order of finish were Espial, Jill Indy Pulpit, No Reason, Dixie Dreamer, Divine Rahy, Miss Wellspring, and Miss Mambo. Pine Shelter and Hurricane Isabel were late scratches. Rashaud and Cat Alert did not draw in.
The Likely Exchange is the second Turfway stakes win for Ella Belle, who won the Wintergreen in 2006. Her record in 22 career starts is 6-2-2 for earnings of $190,193 for owners B. Thomas Westerfield, Robert J. Brown, and James Cox.
Leparoux OK after fall
Jockey Julien Leparoux was not seriously injured when he was unseated in the paddock after Saturday's third race. Leparoux was thrown when his mount, Spirit of Fire, shied while being led into the paddock area for winner's circle photos. Leparoux was treated and released from St. Luke's Hospital in Florence and is expected to return to riding Sunday or Wednesday.