Turfway Stakes Kicks Off 'Winter' Season

A full field of 12 is scheduled to compete in Saturday's Holiday Inaugural Stakes, the first stakes event of the "winter" season in Kentucky. Turfway kicked off its Holiday Meet Nov. 25, and will race straight through to early April.

The $50,000 Holiday Inaugural has lured Fred Kissling's Spanish Glitter, who in her last start finished second to Cat Cay in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland, and B M H Stable's Marquesa Jen, who won her last two allowance races and is three-for-five lifetime at Turfway.

Turfway has made some changes for the meet. It has added "Longshots" sports bar and other amenities to the third floor of the grandstand. It has closed the fourth and fifth floors, including the clubhouse dining to room, except for large groups. The Homestretch room on the first floor adjacent to the Race Book now serves as the main dining area. The Racing Club on the fifth floor remains open.

"A consultant talked to us about the size of the facility," Turfway president Bob Ellison said. "He said we didn't do a very good job of 'modulating' energy. It's all about efficiency and managing the facility to the crowds we have in the winter."

Elliston said he's optimistic the horse population will hold up well this winter because of what could be a stall shortage in South Florida with the closure of Hialeah Park for winter training. He said simulcast handle for the Keeneland and Churchill Downs meets in October and November, respectively, was up after a slow September.