FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 14, 2012 – After a disappointing summer, Twinspired returned to the winner's circle in his most recent race, an optional allowance at Turfway Park at the start of the holiday meet. On Saturday he seeks a return to stakes-winning form, heading a field of 10 in the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes on the Turfway Polytrack.
Trained by Mike Maker, Twinspired showed promise as a young 3-year-old. He won the WEBN Stakes and finished third in the Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway, the latter behind eventual Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Animal Kingdom, and then came within a nose of winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. A 17th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a subsequent off-the-board finish in a Woodbine stake led to a four-month layoff, and while Twinspired finished in the money five times in his next 11 starts, the winner's circle had been elusive until his recent start at Turfway. He won that race from far back, and while he may be closer to the pace in the Prairie Bayou, the race has enough speed to set up an off-the-pace win. Norberto Arroyo Jr., the meet's leading rider, was aboard for the comeback win and rides Saturday.
Maker also entered Derby Kitten, who won the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland as a 3-year-old. Like Twinspired, he looks to return to winning form as a 4-year-old. He also races off the pace and gets the services of Victor Lebron, who has four riding titles at Turfway and is currently second behind Arroyo. Derby Kitten has never raced at Turfway but is two-for-four on all weather surfaces and worked over the Turfway track last Saturday.
Carded for 3-year-olds and up, the Prairie Bayou has drawn two 4-year-old fillies. Eye Candy Annie makes her first stakes run off impressive allowance placings on turf and/or Polytrack at Keeneland, Arlington, and Kentucky Downs and a strong fourth on Saratoga's turf. Rodney Prescott, eight shy of 3,000 career wins, rides for trainer John Dyer. British bred and raced Submission makes her third U.S. start and first for trainer Conor Murphy, with Dean Sarvis to ride.
Multiple graded stakes-placed Night Party was third in the Firecracker Stakes (G2) on the Churchill turf this summer and was beaten less than three lengths in his last two races, both on that surface. He likely will be on or near the lead under recent regular rider Shane Sellers. Patrick Huffman trains.
Son of a General is succeeding at four, with four wins and three thirds in nine starts this year, but the Prairie Bayou is his first stakes try. He won his last two races, Keeneland and Churchill claiming events at the Prairie Bayou's 1 1/16-mile distance. Although the race is a step up, trainer David Vance places him well; the colt has been off the board only three times in his 15 races and he's two-for-two on all weather tracks. Terry Thompson rides.
The Prairie Bayou from the rail out: Derby Kitten; Wealth to Me (jockey Sal Gonzalez Jr.): Ol Army (Marlon St. Julien); Twinspired; Son of a General; Submission; Eye Candy Annie; Red All Over (Borja Fayos); Master Rocket (Perry Ouzts); and Night Party. All carry 120 pounds except the fillies at 117 and Ol Army, the field's only 3-year-old, at 119.
Saturday's race is named for the 1993 winner of the Spiral Stakes who then finished second in the Kentucky Derby and won the Preakness Stakes before being fatally injured in the Belmont Stakes.
The Prairie Bayou is the 10th of 11 races on Turfway's Saturday card. First post is 1:10 p.m. ET.