The $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes, the last of three preps on the way to the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II), drew a field of eight 3-year-olds led by Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Kera's Kitten and Bred To Win's graded stakes placed Codoy.
Thee 1 1/16-mile race will be run over Turfway Park’s Polytrack Feb. 27. Kera’s Kitten will carry top weight of 121 pounds by virtue of scoring in the second leg of Turfway’s 3-year-old series, the Jan. 30 WEBN Stakes, by 2 1/2 lengths. Jockey Tommy Pompell will have the mount once again.
A son of Kitten's Joy—Mrs. K, by Dixieland Band, the dark bay/brown colt has won three of five starts for leading trainer Mike Maker, including the Skyy El Joven Stakes on the Retama Park turf as a juvenile. He was a non-factor in the first prep for the Lane’s End, the Jan. 2 Turfway Prevue Stakes, after stumbling badly at the start en route to a seventh-place finish in his 3-year-old debut.
The second- and third-place finishers of the WEBN, Slewzoom and Lucky Chuck, respectively, are also back for another go. Sharon Morgan’s Slewzoom has just one win to show from seven starts, that coming in a maiden special weight last November at Hawthorne Race Course. But the John Wainwright trainee was third in Hawthorne’s Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity Stakes in his 2-year-old finale, and has hit the board five times.
Also likley to garner considerable support is Codoy, runner-up to Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) contender Interactif in last year’s Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland and 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IIT) at Santa Anita. The Mark Hubley trainee will make his 3-year-old debut under Sal Gonzalez Jr. The Bernstein colt’s lone win in six starts came at Turfway when breaking his maiden last September going one mile on the Polytrack.
Lucky Chuck, an Indiana-bred owned by Spade Stable, was fourth in the Prevue and more than six lengths back of Kera’s Kitten in the WEBN. Trained by David Pate, he won the restricted Indiana Futurity last fall at Hoosier Park. Ben Creed will ride the Evansville Slew gelding.
One colt to watch is Donegal Racing’s Vow to Wager with Turfway’s leading rider John McKee aboard for Dale Romans. Vow to Wager was impressive in his season debut Jan. 31 when breaking his maiden by 5 1/2 lengths going one mile on the Polytrack. A son of Broken Vow—Wage a Penny, by Valid Wager, the dark bay/brown colt was bred in Kentucky by Dixiana Stables and was a $90,000 Keeneland September 2008 yearling sale purchase.
The Lane's End Stakes will be run March 27, a week later than its usual spot on the calendar.
$100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes (Race 11, 5:45 p.m. EST), 3YO, 1 1/16 Miles (Polytrack) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Fish (KY), O Mojica, 115, P A Sims
2. Slewzoom (IL), A O Stanley, 115, J C Wainwright
3. Codoy (KY), S Gonzalez Jr., 115, M Hubley
4. In the Paint (KY), R A Stokes III, 115, K Gorder
5. Lucky Chuck (IN), B Creed, 119, D E Pate
6. Vow to Wager (KY), J McKee, 115, D L Romans
7. Pathoki (KY), R A Prescott, 115, L T Stevens
8. Kera's Kitten (KY), T L Pompell, 121, M J Maker