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Holiday Cheer looks for a leader

Friday, December 26, 2003 12:00 AM
  • General
FLORENCE, KY . . . December 26, 2003 . . . Somebody’s got to set the pace in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer at Turfway Park on Saturday. In the seven-horse field, only Wild Lies has been partial to the front. Otherwise the race among stalkers and closers looks like a demonstration of the phrase “jockey for position.”

Tenth of 10 in his last stakes attempt, the 1 1/8 mile Prairie Bayou at Turfway two weeks ago, Wild Lies returns to six furlongs for the Holiday Cheer. He led all the way to win a low-level allowance win at that distance at Mountaineer in September and last month won a similar mile race there in the same style.

Crowned Dancer may remember how to go for the lead early; he wired the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile 18 months ago, and then didn’t race again for nearly a year. Returning to the track in March of this year, he finished third in the Grade 2 San Rafael at Santa Anita and fourth behind Peace Rules in the Grade 1 Bluegrass at Keeneland. With such showings among such company to his credit, he may find room at the front again in the Holiday Cheer.

Stonecrest Farm’s Proven Cure comes in off a $50,000 claiming win at Churchill Downs. Now nine years old, he’d finished unevenly recently, in the money in some high-level claimers and mid-pack in others.

With Rafael Bejarano on vacation in Peru, Founding Chairman gets Tony D’Amico for his trip in the Holiday Cheer. In six lifetime starts Founding Chairman has two of each in the money and offers the most consistent record at the distance in the field.

Dale Romans’ Dubai Sheikh has spent most of his career finishing in the money in strong allowance races at Keeneland and Churchill Downs, but he hasn’t won since July at Ellis Park. Jason Lumpkins, who was on board for that win, has the mount again for the Holiday Cheer.

Gallatin Kid was second in the Holiday Cheer last year and has the most experience on the Turfway track. He comes in off an allowance win at Turfway about two week ago. Jeff Johnston, his regular rider, will be aboard again.

Golden Oldie hasn’t won since taking an allowance race at Mountaineer in November 2002, but he drops considerably in distance here and has winning experience at Turfway.

First post on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. EST. The Holiday Meet continues through December 31, with the Winter/Spring Meet beginning January 1. First post through January 1, including next Monday and Tuesday, December 29 and 30, is 1:10 p.m.


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