Three-time stakes winners Champali and Grey Comet are scheduled to meet for the first time in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds March 1 at Turfway Park. The Battaglia is the final local prep for the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes March 22 at the Kentucky track.
The 12-race program also features the $50,000 Valdale Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. The event was slated for Feb. 22 but winter weather and poor track conditions forced the cancellation of racing that afternoon.
Kentucky-bred Champali, owned by Lloyd Madison Farms, won the Turfway Prevue Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs Jan. 4 and the WEBN Stakes at one mile Feb. 1. Last year, the son of Glitterman won the grade III Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs. Trained by Greg Foley, Champali will stretch out a bit yet again in the 1 1/16-mile Battalgia Memorial.
New York-bred Grey Comet, owned by Star Track Farms, tasted defeat for the first time in his last start, the Feb. 8 Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct, when he finished second behind Boston Park. Before that, the Gary Contessa trainee won the Count Fleet Stakes at Aqueduct, and last year took two state-bred events: the Damon Runyon Stakes and the New York Stallion Great White Way Stakes, both at Aqueduct.
Jason Lumpkins, leading rider at the Turfway winter-spring meet, gets a return call aboard Champali as the 121-pound co-highweight. Aaron Gryder is scheduled to ship in from New York to ride Grey Comet, also at 121 pounds.
Among the other Battaglia Memorial entrants is Team Valor Stables' Grand, an Irish-bred who makes his 2003 debut under the care of Elliott Walden. Last year, Grand, by Grand Lodge, finished third in the Grey Breeders' Cup Stakes (grade II Canada) at Woodbine.
Here's the full field for the Battaglia Memorial in post-position order with jockeys and weights:
1. Grey Comet (Aaron Gryder) 121
2. Chicken Soup Kid (Brian Peck) 114
3. False Promises (Orlando Mojica) 114
4. Tito's Beau (Dean Butler) 114
5. Steelyeyed (Joe Deegan) 114
6. Wendlar (Perry Ouzts) 114
7. Lx Commander (Rodney Prescott) 114
8. Paula's Pride (Jeff Johnston) 114
9. Honeagle (Rafael Bejarano) 114
10. Grand (Tony D'Amico) 114
11. Champali (Jason Lumpkins) 121
Turfway lost nine consecutive racing programs from Feb. 13-23 because of weather and track conditions, but returned to action Feb. 26. To make up for lost opportunities, Turfway will race Monday afternoons in March. The first Monday card is slated for March 3.