TURFWAY’S HOLIDAY INAUGURAL STAKES DRAWS FULL GATE
FLORENCE, Ky. (Dec. 2, 2016) – An oversubscribed field of 14 fillies and mares 3 years old and up signed on to vie for the 31st running of the Holiday Inaugural Stakes at Turfway Park on Saturday. A dozen will go to post for the six-furlong black type sprint, which offers a $50,000 purse.
Speedy Dear Elaine led at every call in winning her most recent race, an allowance route on the Keeneland dirt Oct. 29. She has won sprints as well in similar fashion at both Keeneland and Churchill. The Holiday Inaugural will be the 3 year old’s first start against older fillies and mares, her first at Turfway, her first at stakes level and her first on an all-weather surface. She tuned up most recently with a bullet breeze at Keeneland on Nov. 15, topping eight works at four furlongs in :48 flat. Alonso Quinonez, who is riding at Turfway regularly for the first time since his apprentice days 10 years ago, has the call for trainer Charlie LoPresti.
Touch and Smile, also making her first start against older rivals, comes in off two straight sprint wins, both on Presque Isle’s all-weather track and both gate to wire; she won the first, at the Holiday Inaugural distance, by six lengths. Trained by Wesley Ward for Sol Kumin’s Head of Plains Partners, she broke her maiden at Turfway in her first career start during this year’s winter/spring meet. Julio Garcia rides.
Five-year-old Marquee Cal Gal has six wins from 10 starts this year, including three starter allowances at Presque Isle and two races during the Turfway winter/spring meet. She is happy at the distance, winning three and placing in three others, and all eight of her career wins have come over all-weather surfaces. Jack Gilligan will ride for trainer Phil Sims.
Making her 39th start, the veteran of the field is 5-year-old Needmore Flattery, Ohio Horse of the Year for 2013 and 2014. While fair to wonder if she has lost half a step, given her lone win in 10 starts this year, she has been in the money for half those starts. Also on the plus side, she is 10-for-12 in the money at six furlongs including five wins, and she owns a shelf full of Ohio stakes trophies. Needmore Flattery will make her first start for trainer Bill Connelly. Hot jockey Abel Lezcano, who already has four wins in the meet that opened Nov. 30, will ride.
The Holiday Inaugural field from the rail out: Needmore Flattery (Lezcano, 120 lbs.); Dear Elaine (Quinonez, 121); Touch of Bling (Channing Hill, 121); Momameamaria (Hector Rosario Jr., 120); Touch and Smile (Garcia, 119); Luckyallmylife (T. D. Houghton, 119); Marquee Cal Gal (Gilligan, 120); Melaleuca (Jon Court, 124); Sweet Angel Roan (Perry Ouzts, 119); Marquee Miss (Didiel Osorio, 123); Misleading Lady (Tom Pompell, 120); and Firey Diamond (Jacob Radosevich, 120). Contrasting and Pin Up Gal are also eligible.
The Holiday Inaugural is the sixth of Saturday’s nine races. First post is 6:15 p.m.