FLORENCE, Ky., Jan. 31, 2013 – The $50,000 96ROCK Stakes at Turfway on Saturday has drawn a full field of 3-year-old colts and geldings for the second local prep toward the Spiral Stakes (G3) in March.
George and Lori Hall's Bye Bye Bernie had trouble finding position in the first prep, the Turfway Prevue on Jan. 5, and finished a well beaten fourth, but that was his first start since winning a 7-furlong race at Keeneland in October. The outside post puts him in the clear for the one-mile 96ROCK, but he tends to seek the early lead and may spend more early than he can afford. He has one route start, finishing seventh after setting the pace in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special on the Saratoga turf. Kelly Breen trains and named Rodney Prescott to ride.
I Do Believe did not contest the Turfway Prevue but comes in to Saturday’s race off two straight easy wins at Turfway, most recently an optional allowance at the 96ROCK distance in his first start of the year. Two starts back he cruised to a 10 1/4-length score in a Dec. 22 maiden special at 6 1/2 furlongs. In both cases he came from off the pace. Shane Sellers was aboard for his last race and gets the call again for trainer Mike Maker.
Mac the Man won the Turfway Prevue, coming from off the pace to get those 6 1/2 furlongs by four lengths. While he is undefeated at Turfway in back-to-back sprints, the 96ROCK Stakes will be his first try at a mile. Norberto Arroyo Jr. was aboard for both Turfway races and will be back Saturday for trainer Jeff Greenhill.
Greenhill also trains the way-back closer Silver Tongued, who came from more than a dozen lengths off the lead to win the Juvenile Stakes at Thistledown in October. He was fifth in the Turfway Prevue after a characteristic slow start but the added distance can only help him and he gets a new rider Saturday in Rafael Hernandez.
The field for the 96ROCK Stakes from the rail out: Count On Silver (jockey Roberto Morales); Silver Tongued; Smoke Em Charlie (Luis Martinez Jr.); Takin the Sloroad (Thomas Pompell); Gefest (Ben Creed); Penn National shipper Yougotthatgoinforu (Emilio Flores); Indiana Charlie (Amanda Tamburello); Mac the Man; Special Sun (Eddie Zuniga); I Do Believe; Mellow Fellow (Edgar Paucar); and Bye Bye Bernie.
Silver Tongued, Mac the Man, and Indiana Charlie will carry 122 pounds. All others carry 118.
The 96ROCK Stakes is sponsored this year for the first time by Cincinnati rock radio station WFTK. The race was established in 1983 as the Presidents Stakes and was sponsored from 2002 through 2012 by a competing rock station, WEBN. The race is the ninth of 10 on Saturday. First post is 1:10 p.m.