Maryland invader Malibu Moonshine will carry top weight of 121 pounds in Saturday's John Battaglia Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park as he faces eight others while going for his third consecutive stakes win. The King Leatherbury trainee rallied to win the St. Nick at Charles Town in late December and the Miracle Wood at Laurel Feb. 5.
Pavo, the only other stakes winner in the 1 1/16 mile race, sports a win in the City Zip three races back in mid-December and a runner-up effort in the Fred Capossela Feb. 19. The Battaglia marks his first start outside New York for trainer Jennifer Pedersen.
Local runners Chirinda Forest, Western Bulldog, and the lone filly in the race, Smart Voyager, go into the race off wins, with Western Bulldog's being the the lengthiest. Trained by Jason Cook, Western Bulldog ran off with the lead in a maiden race and won by 5 3/4 lengths at a mile Feb. 18.
Magna Graduate and Ultimate are up from Florida. Trained by Nick Zito and a $675,000 Ocala Sale 2-year-old graduate, Ultimate was an eight-length Gulfstream maiden winner who will be making his third start. Magna Graduate, who came within 2 3/4 lengths of winning the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at Turfway last fall, ran a distant third in the Aventura Stakes at Gulfstream in early January in his last outing.
John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, Race 10, Estimated Time: 5:19
Post Horse Weight Jockey
1 Western Bulldog 114 Justin Vitek
2 Cat Shaker 114 Jeff Johnston
3 Interline 114 Orlando Mojica
4 Malibu Moonshine 121 Steve Hamilton
5 Pavo 118 Alan Garcia
6 Magna Graduate 114 Dean Sarvis
7 Chirinda Forest 114 Mathieu Adam
8 Ultimate 114 Rodney Prescott
9 Smart Voyager 109 Eddie Zuniga