The first Quarter Horse race at Turfway Park since 1972, and the first held anywhere on Polytrack, will be held the evening of Sept. 12 at the Northern Kentucky track.
Multiple stakes winner Jessluvchicks is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the $25,000 John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes, carded as race 11 with post time set for 11:21 p.m. (EDT). First post for 10 Thoroughbred races is 7 p.m.
Jessluvchicks will break from the outside post 10 with regular rider Harold Collins named for trainer Ron Raper and owner Jeannette Hoover. A 6-year-old gelding by Chicks Beduino, Jessluvchicks has five wins in his last six starts, including the John Deere Lexington Challenge Sprint Stakes at The Red Mile July 18, and the Don Boyd Memorial Handicap, also part of the John Deere Series, at Mt. Pleasant Meadows in Michigan July 6.
The gelding did not race at all in 2007. “We trained him two years ago, and then he went home to North Carolina and just did a little match racing,” Raper said. “I think the time off last year helped him. He’s been very consistent this year.”
Raper, who is stabled in Michigan, is the sixth-leading Quarter Horse trainer by wins in North America. He has 63 winners from 210 starters.
The John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up, is at 330 yards. The purse carries black-type status in American Quarter Horse racing and includes a $5,000 John Deere premium for Bank of America Challenge-enrolled horses.
Quarter Horses last raced at the Florence track in 1972 when it was known as Latonia. Quarter Horses currently have two pari-mutuel dates in Kentucky at The Red Mile in Lexington. In the early 1990s, Quarter Horse meets were held at Players Bluegrass Downs in Paducah, Ky.
The John Deere Turfway Park Sprint Stakes will be broadcast live on TVG, which carries exclusive coverage of all Turfway races. The late post will allow the race to be shown at 8:21 p.m. in California as part of the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse simulcast program.