Trainer Bernie Flint, who won the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural Stakes last year with Spanish Glitter, has doubled his chances for a repeat by entering both Freeforracing and Keepondealing for Saturday's feature. The two fillies are among the 11-horse field expected for the six-furlong race at Turfway Park.
Freeforracing, the stronger half of the entry listed at 5-2 on the morning line, will be making her fifth start for Flint in the Holiday Inaugural after previously being trained by Neil Drydale. In her first start for Flint, she won an allowance race at Turfway in September and most recently won a high-level claiming race at Churchill Downs. The French Deputy filly's only off the board finish for her new connections was a fourth in Keeneland's Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. III). Keepondealing will be seeking her first victory since capturing Turfway's $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes in January. The Friendly Lover filly drew the rail, while her stablemate will break from the extreme outside.
In order for the Flint entry to bring home a victory, one will have to get past Southern Pride Stable's Don't Countess Out, the 8-5 morning line favorite. The Larry Jones-trained Take Me Out Filly easily won Turfway's $75,000 Weekend Delight Stakes in September and most recently finished second the Thoroughbred Club of America. Regular rider Terry Thompson will be in for the mount. Don't Countess Out drew post 4.
The speedy Emily Ring, who drew post 10, could run away with the race if she's allowed an easy lead. The Fit to Fight filly, trained by William Huffman, has won two of her last four races in front-running fashion. The Carl Nafzger-trained Bedazzle and Cauy also have credentials to pull an upset. Cauy, running for Arlington Park's leading trainer and owner, Wayne Catalano and Frank Calabrese, makes the step up into stakes competition from the claiming ranks, and is riding a four-race win streak.
The field for the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural:
PP, Horse, Rider, ML
1, Keepondealing, Brian Peck, 5-2e
2, Mist Ya, Jason Lumpkins, 20-1
3, French Wedding, Kris Prather, 30-1
4, Don't Countess Out, Terry Thompson, 8-5
5, Devilinbluedenim, Justin Vitek, 30-1
6, Marquesa Jen, Jose Martinez Jr., 20-1
7, Cauy, Rodney Prescott, 12-1
8, Steaming Home, Daniel Coa, 15-1
9, Bedazzle, Tony D'Amico, 6-1
10, Emily Ring, James Lopez, 4-1
11, Freefourracing, Brian Peck, 5-2e