Marylou Whitney's Birdstone was installed the even-money favorite against 10 rivals for Saturday's Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway Park. The 3-year-old son of Grindstone
drew post one for the 1 1/8-mile race.
The $500,000 Lane's End, along with the one-mile Gotham Stakes (gr. III) from New York will be televised live on ESPN2 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. EST.
Birdstone, high on most Kentucky Derby (gr. I) pundits' list of contenders, is trained by Nick Zito, a two-time winner of the Derby, and will be ridden by Jerry Bailey, himself a two-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey.
Birdstone, out of the Storm Bird mare Dear Birdie, is a half-brother to last year's Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner and champion 3-year-old filly Bird Town. Last year he won the 1 1/16-mile Champagne Stakes (gr. I) around one turn at Belmont Park in early October. In his lone start this year, Birdstone easily won a two-turn allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 14. The homebred boasts a 3-0-0 slate from four career starts and has earned $360,600.
Figuring to give Birdstone his biggest run for the money is local favorite Silver Minister. The Lloyd Madison Farms-owned runner drew post 7 and made the 5-1 co-second choice on the morning line by Turfway Park's handicapper Mike Battaglia. The other 5-1 choice is Stolen Time, who is shipping in off a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) for trainer Bill Mott.
Silver Minister, trained by the meet's leading trainer Greg Foley, has won four in a row, all over the local strip. After breaking his maiden on Dec. 4, he rattled off wins in the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Park Prevue Stakes, the one-mile WEBN Stakes, and the 1 1/16-mile John Battaglia Memorial Stakes.
"I like the post," Foley said. "I'm right in the middle and on the outside of the horse to beat. That was where I wanted to be. We have a horse on the outside that likes to show speed (Sinister G; post 11), so we can take back and keep a close eye on the favorite as opposed to having him breathing down my neck."
Last year, Foley trained Champali for Lloyd Madison Farms to victories in the same three local stakes before finishing third in the Lane's End.
"It's great to be able to do it two years in a row," Foley said. "Both horses are very comparable, neither one is very big. They're both compact, athletic-type horses with speed, but I think Silver Minister will be able to get more ground than Champali. It's the breeding more than anything else; 1 1/8 miles was a stretch for Champali."
Silver Minister is dark bay or brown gelding by Silver Deputy
out of the Capote mare Mint Leaf.
Tap Dancing Mauk, fourth in the Battaglia, and That's an Outrage, seventh in the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita last time out, made their way into the Lane's End field. Earlier in the week, both were possible for either the Lane's End or the $100,000 1 1/16-miles Rushaway Stakes on the undercard.
Tap Dancing Mauk is owned by a local outfit: Bill Mauk's Mauk 1 Racing Stable and Franklin D. Franklin, and is trained by Fletcher Mauk. That's an Outrage is owned by Denise Moewes and Tim Dore's Bull Stick Stable. By Quiet American
out of Known Fact mare Cable News, That's an Outrage was bred by Kip Elser, who last month sold the $4.5 million world-record 2-year-old in training at the Fasig-Tipton Calder sale.Lane's End Stakes (gr. II), $500,000, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds, Turfway Park, Saturday, March 20
PP, Horse, Jockey, ML
1, Birdstone, Jerry Bailey, Even
2, That's an Outrage, Robby Albarado, 8-1
3, Hippocrates, David Flores, 12-1
4, Stolen Time, Cornelio Velasquez, 5-1
5, Tap Dancing Mauk, Eddie Zuniga, 30-1
6, Hasslefree, Jon Court, 15-1
7, Silver Minister, Rafael Bejarano, 5-1
8, New Element, Mark Guidry, 30-1
9, Tricky Taboo, Tony D'Amico, 50-1
10, Little Matth Man, Pablo Fragoso, 10-1
11, Sinister G, Paul Toscano, 12-1