Larry Richardson’s Midway Holiday, a winner of three of six lifetime starts and an even fourth last out in the Virginia Oaks (gr. IIIT), is one of a pair of 3-year-old fillies entered in a wide-open edition of the $100,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III) Aug. 14 at Ellis Park.
The one-mile Gardenia is the lone graded stakes of the meet at the Henderson, Ky., racetrack and is ninth of 10 races on the Saturday program. Post time is set for 4:53 p.m. CDT.
Midway Holiday won both starts as a juvenile at Fair Grounds last year on turf, and was third in the grade III Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park in March. She won a second-level allowance race on the Churchill Downs dirt before the Virginia Oaks try.
Victor Lebron, who won the Gardenia aboard Swift Temper in 2008, will have the mount for Greg Foley, the trainer of 2007 winner Pleasant Hill.
The other 3-year-old in the race is Carl Pollard’s Tap Tap Tapping, who finished a distant runner-up in an optional claimer July 18 on the slop at Ellis. The David Vance trainee was third to No Such Word in the Honeybee (gr. III) at Oaklawn Park in March, and second to Ailalea in the Dogwood Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill in May.
Dale Romans has saddled a pair of Gardenia winners (Angela’s Love in 2004, Swift Temper) and will send out Donald Dizney’s Century Park this time. Winner of the Santa Ysabel (gr. III) and TVG California Cup Distance Handicap last year at Santa Anita while trained by Bob Baffert, 4-year-old General Meeting filly has not hit the board in four starts in 2010. She shipped east for Romans earlier this year and finished fifth in an optional claimer last out June 18 at Churchill.
The 124-pound high weight in the field of 10 is West Hope, a group II winner in Brazil last year. Lady's Laughter was third in the 2009 Gardenia.
$100,000 Gardenia Handicap (gr. III, Race 9, 4:53 p.m.), Fillies and Mares, 1 Mile (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1 Direct Line (KY), T Farina, 118, V Oliver
2 West Hope (BRZ), G Kuntzweiler, 124, E Caramori
3 Choragus (KY), E E Perez, 118, C M Block
4 Irish Witch (KY), T L Pompell, 118, M R Thompson
5 Secret Kin (IL), J Theriot, 118, M Stidham
6 Century Park (FL), L J Sterling Jr., 118, D L Romans
7 Ravi's Song (KY), F C Torres, 118, C Bowman
8 Midway Holiday (KY), V Lebron, 113, G D Foley
9 Lady's Laughter (KY), C J Lanerie, 118, C Lopresti
10 Tap Tap Tapping (KY), Q Hamilton, 113, D R Vance