FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 5, 2013 – Mac the Man gave trainer Jeff Greenhill his first stakes win in Kentucky Saturday, taking the $50,000 Turfway Prevue at Turfway Park by an easy four lengths over Smokinindaboysroom. Lew and Mike closed from far back to be third, another 1 3/4 lengths back.
With Norberto Arroyo Jr. in the irons, Mac the Man sat comfortably in third, a couple of lengths off the :22.55 and :45.83 pace set by Saint Arbor and his shadow, Smokinindaboysroom. Mac the Man angled out on the turn, led into the stretch, and won on cruise control, finishing the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:18.31.
"I've ridden a couple of the other horses in this race before, and I had a feeling, from my experience, that I was on the best horse," said Arroyo. "My priority was to put him in a good position to fire early. Thank God he broke sharp enough to put him there. I've ridden a lot of nice horses, and this is a nice horse."
"He won the Prevue prep (at Turfway on Dec. 8) by eight-and-a-half," said Greenhill, "so I figured he likes this track and he likes this distance. He ran like he always does: he breaks sharp and takes himself back and comes running at the end. He should have won a hundred-thousand-dollar stake at Presque Isle (the Fitz Dixon Jr. Memorial Juvenile in September) but he got in all kinds of trouble (finishing fourth, beaten 2-3/4 lengths)."
The Turfway Prevue is the first of three local preps for Turfway's Spiral Stakes (G3) in March. Asked whether the colt would try the second prep, the one-mile WEBN Stakes on Feb. 2, Greenhill said, "I do think he will stretch out to two turns. He'd be a little more forwardly placed, but I think he'll go two turns."
Complicating the decision is Greenhill's other promising 3-year-old, Silver Tongued, who closed with a rush to be fifth in the Turfway Prevue but is already proven at two turns. Like Mac the Man, Silver Tongued is owned by the trainer's wife, Sherri Greenhill.
"This was a prep for Silver Tongued," Greenhill said. "He was flying at the end. I may have to start looking at dodging one another. This will be the first time I nominate two to the Triple Crown. But I do think you'd have to try (Mac the Man) at two turns."
Completing the order of finish in the Turfway Prevue were Bye Bye Bernie, Silver Tongued, Saint Arbor, Mile Range, and Corso's Law.
Mac the Man went off the 5-2 second choice and paid $7, $4.20, and $3.80.
Bye Bye Bernie, the 7-5 favorite, was making his first start since Oct. 20. "He broke slow and it looked like that hurt us," said trainer Kelly Breen. "A couple of horses came over on him. He probably needed this race."
Mac the Man was bred in Kentucky by St. George Farm LLC and is by El Corredor out of Marchmont, by Mountain Cat. He has three wins and a second in six career starts and earnings of $85,390. The Turfway Prevue is his first stakes win.
Greenhill saddled his first horse in 1996 at the age of 41 after a career as a chemical engineer.
Racing at Turfway continues Sunday, with first post at 1:10 p.m.