Reflections from Turfway Park

March 25, 2012 09:24am
I had the pleasure of seeing four stakes races yesterday with my lovely wife at Turfway Park, and by the time it was all over I came away with the strong feeling that I had seen some very good horses. Here are the highlights…

In the day’s biggest race, it was Went the Day Well who was able to emulate his older stablemate, and Kentucky Derby champ, Animal Kingdom, with a strong victory in the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes. Trained by Graham Motion and owned by Team Valor International, the attractive bay son of Proud Citizen announced himself as a real contender for the 2012 Run for the Roses with a 3 ½ length score over runner-up Holiday Promise and ten others. While the final time for the 1 1/8 mile Spiral Stakes of 1:51.33 was nearly a full second faster than Animal Kingdom completed the trip last year, I am not quite as excited about him as I was the soon to be Derby winner last year. Went the Day Well looked good, but not quite Animal Kingdom good. Animal Kingdom has an explosiveness to his kick that I have just not seen from this one yet. Having said that, Went the Day Well should appreciate running longer, and absolutely stood out on looks yesterday. Bred in New York, and originally campaigned in England, he will move into the lower tier of the Top 10 on my new Down and Derby rankings due out Tuesday.

The female version of the Spiral turned out to be a one horse race. In Lingerie made the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks look like little more than a public workout, as she led the field every step of the way before hitting the wire six lengths the best. In Lingerie completed the one-mile race in 1:38.28 under rider John Velazquez, who swept the day’s two biggest races. In winning for the second time in only three starts, the daughter of Empire Maker could not have done things any easier yesterday. From the first quarter mile through the finish, I was very impressed with the fluid, effortless stride of the lightly raced filly. It was clear that she thoroughly overmatched the other seven fillies yesterday, but things will get much tougher in the near future. Potential future races like the Ashland and the Kentucky Oaks will certainly test In Lingerie, but I think she has the potential to run with the big girls for trainer, Todd Pletcher. She moves into my Top 5 of my Kentucky Oaks contenders.

In the Rushaway Stakes, it was Flashy Dresser who not only earned his first stakes victory by half a length, but also did it in just his second career start. An impressive winner of his six furlong debut in a March 4 maiden at Gulfstream Park, the chestnut son of Flashy Bull stretched things out yesterday to a 1 1/16 miles against winners like a good horse should. While his result was the least impressive of the four stakes winners yesterday, the fact that he was able to make the jump in class and distance in his second start is a good sign. It should also be noted that the Fred Seitz runner also looked like a big gawky kid while getting the best of a prolonged duel with second choice Gung Ho. It likes there is plenty of room for improvement for Flashy Dresser.

And finally in the six furlong Hansel Stakes, It was Hogy who turned what looked like an evenly matched field on paper into an absolute blowout. Despite drifting out in much of the stretch, the son of Offlee Wild still rolled home by 6 ¾ lengths over runner-up Magical Season in a snappy final time of 1:10.33. Like the other stakes winners on the day, Hogy will need to face stiffer competition to make noise on the national scene, but his performance yesterday has me confident that he was one serious sprinter. Away since last September, Hogy won for the fourth time in five lifetime starts, and more importantly, is now undefeated in his four tries in sprint races.

Come back tomorrow for a photographic look at my adventures on Spiral Day. 


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Older Comments about Reflections from Turfway Park ...

What kind of an idiot leaves a Pletcher 25-1 shot out of his exacta at Turfway? This guy.
I STILL cannot believe that In Lingerie was allowed to get away with that slow pace! Aside from that, it was a very nice win for her. I would love for her to head to the Oaks and take on the big girls.
No, Steve Cauthen is from Walton, Ky which is about 20 mins from Covington, Ky.
Isn't Covington Ky original home of S Cauthen?
Yes, my first visit to Turfway was to see Hansel win in '91.
Sounds like a great day of racing. I assume that you had been to Turfway before, not an addition to your already lengthy list of racetracks visited.

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Meet Brian Zipse

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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