Mac The Man, trained by Jeff Greenhill, tried two turns for the first time and made it look easy with a wire-to-wire victory in the $50,000 96ROCK Stakes. The Kentucky-bred colt by El Corredor out of the Mountain Cat mare Marchmont had won the Turfway Prevue Stakes in his previous start.
Even-money choice Mac the Man outbroke nine other foes in the one-mile event and quickly found the rail before the first turn. Eventual second-place finisher Bye Bye Bernie also fired away from the outside post to stalk the leader, but couldn't get past him.
The order never changed through fractions of :24.33, :48.16, and 1:13.60 on Polytrack. Mac the Man nursed a half-length lead for three-quarters of a mile before pulling away from Bye Bye Bernie to win by two lengths in 1:40.52 on the Polytrack (VIDEO) .
Takin the Sloroad, a maiden, rallied from eighth to finish third, 6 1/4 lengths behind Bye Bye Bernie.
Mac the Man, who showed some quality when he finished fourth despite a troubled trip in the Fitz Dixon Memorial Juvenile Stakes as a 2-year-old last year, paid $4.
Arroyo said because it was the horse's first start around two turns, he tapped him a few times in the lane, "but he really didn't need it."
"I'm very happy," said Jeff Greenhill, who is based at Turfway. "Norberto rode a great race. He decided to steal it, and he did. I look at pace figures, and in his sprint races he really wasn't slowing down; he actually won in hand going 6 1/2 furlongs. So I wasn't too worried about the extra furlong and a half."
Greenhill said it's too early to say whether Mac the Man will race in the March 2 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway. His other starter in the race, Silver Tongued, was last on the far turn but closed with good energy to just miss fourth.
"He wants to go really long. I don't know where he'll run next, but I don't think they're going to like him in Ohio," Greenhill said with a laugh. "I think both colts have a bright future."
Mac the Man now has four wins and a second in seven starts.
In the $50,000 Cincinnati Trophy Stakes for fillies at 6 1/2 furlongs, Allanah circled most of her rivals coming off the turn and rapidly drew away to a 5 1/2-length victory under Arroyo. Our Jenny B rallied from sixth to finish second, three-quarters of a lengths ahead of Julmae, who rallied strongly from last of nine after a poor start (VIDEO).
The fractions for the race were :22.81, :47.18, and 1:13.92. Allanah completed the distance in 1:20.89 and paid $15.80 to win.
Allanah, a Kentucky-bred by Scat Daddy out of the Holy Bull mare Star in the Corner, broke her maiden going a mile at Turfway in the second start of her career. Trainer Kellyn Gorder added blinkers for the filly's stakes debut.
"In her last race she blew the first turn–in her first race, too, on the turf at Churchill," Gorder said. "So even though she won last time without blinkers, I thought it was good to add them.
"She has been a little difficult to deal with and doesn't always take care of herself. I had shipped her to Fair Grounds and was going to run her there, but she would get herself in trouble during training, and it wasn't safe for her or the riders.
"She was very immature mentally. So I brought her back up to Keeneland to train where it's a quieter environment. She's a tall, rangy filly, so I don't think she'll ever have a lot of early speed, but she broke better today and even though she was wide, she was wide because that's where Norberto put her, not because she was getting out.
"It seemed like the light bulb went on today."
Allanah now has two wins in three starts.