FLORENCE, Ky., Dec. 28, 2012 – The $50,000 Holiday Cheer Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday drew a field of 12 colts, geldings, fillies, and mares going six furlongs to close out the Northern Kentucky track's stakes schedule for 2012.
Luzianna Man was second last out on the dirt at Churchill Downs after being steadied at the start, but he broke his maiden two races back on Keeneland's Polytrack Oct. 27. The meet's top rider, Norberto Arroyo Jr., gets the mount for the first time for trainer Charles Lopresti. Luzianna Man will break from post seven, and with speed to his inside and outside his off-the-pace style may serve him well.
Gung Ho ran second in the Rushaway Stakes at Turfway last spring and then was third in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, but he has yet to win this year. The 3-year-old colt is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, trained by Mike Maker, and will be ridden Saturday by Victor Lebron, a combination that has dominated at Turfway in recent years. Well traveled, Gung Ho has raced at six different tracks this year and in his two-year career has compiled a 1-2-1 record in six tries on all-weather tracks. The Holiday Cheer will be his first sprint attempt since a win at Presque Isle Downs in August of his 2-year-old campaign.
The 5-year-old mare Lou's Angel won the Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway to begin her 2012 campaign, the first of only four starts this year. The Holiday Cheer represents her third start off a 10-month layoff, all this month; in her first two starts off that break she improved from ninth to second, first in stakes and then in allowance competition. She does her best running on the front end and gets the services of Perry Ouzts, second to none at getting out of the gate in a hurry. She has four wins, two seconds, and a third over the Turfway Polytrack. Ron Kahles trains.
Trainer Eddie Kenneally sends the 3-year-old filly Ingenue to face not just males but older males among the Holiday Cheer crowd. The front-running lass was claimed from Dogwood Stable two starts back and romped in an optional allowance at Turfway in her most recent start. Rodney Prescott rides.
The field for the Holiday Cheer from the rail out: Midnight Medic (jockey Christian Pilares, 120); Gung Ho (119), Silver Summation (Amanda Tamburello, 120); Ingenue (116); Aly's Reward (Marco Ccamaque, 120); Latent Rush (Alberto Pusac, 119); Luzianna Man (119); Jasizzle (Luis Martinez Jr., 119); Lou's Angel (121); Yankee Union (Marlon St. Julien, 116); Big Albert (Edgar Paucar); and Bella's Fella (Thomas Pompell, 120).
The 25th running of the Holiday Cheer is the ninth of 10 races on Saturday's card. First post is 1:10 p.m. ET.