Turfway opens Wednesday night

Turfway Park media release by Kevin Kerstein (Coady photo)

FLORENCE, Ky. (Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023) – Full fields and great betting opportunities will be the highlight of Wednesday’s opening night program as live racing returns to Turfway Park Racing & Gaming for the 2023-24 season.

          Racing is scheduled each Wednesday-Saturday, starting at 5:55 p.m. (all times Eastern). The 2023 Holiday Meet runs from Wednesday to Saturday, Dec. 30, and the 2024 Winter/Spring Meet will follow from Jan. 3 to March 30.

          The pinnacle of Turfway Park’s season is the $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) on Saturday, March 23, a key event on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The Jeff Ruby Steaks is the centerpiece of the six-stakes program with a 12:45 p.m. first post.

          The 20-day Holiday Meet condition book boasts $7.6 million in purses offered (excludes extras and substitute races). The average daily purses across the 20-day meet average $384,700, about $29,000 more than was offered over the 19-day span in 2022. Purse money includes funds from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund and is pending final approval from the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.

          Gamblers will enjoy competitive racing and great wagering options throughout the Turfway Park season including low 14% takeout Pick 4s, 15% takeout Pick 5s and Single 6 Jackpot.

On Wednesday’s Opening Night card, each of the nine races has a full field of 12 horses plus 10 also-eligibles were entered across the program. The featured event is a 6 ½-furlong allowance optional claimer in Race 8 worth a purse of $74,000. The card also will have two divisions of a one-mile maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies and a 1 ¼-mile maiden special weight for 3-year-olds and up. 

          Many of North America’s top training outfits filled the entry box including Mark CasseBrad CoxCherie DeVauxMike MakerMichael McCarthy and Wesley Ward. Leading rider Gerardo Corrales aims to defend his title and will be joined by more than 50 other riders that were listed in the Holiday Meet condition book.

          Turfway Park welcomes Tony Calo as the new track announcer. He’ll be joined on the simulcast feed by Kaitlin Free, who will be providing her expert selections for the third consecutive season. Free will also be joined this year by racing analyst Scott Shapiro

For more information about racing and gaming from Turfway Park, visit www.turfway.com.

MULTIPLE TURFWAY PARK STAKES WINNER MARISSA’S LADY RETURNS IN SATURDAY’S $125,000 HOLIDAY INAUGURAL Boone Family Trust and Tillema Family Trust’s three-time Turfway Park stakes winner Marissa’s Lady will headline an extremely-competitive cast of 14 fillies and mares that entered Saturday’s 37th running of the $125,000 Holiday Inaugural Stakes.

          Run at 6 ½ furlongs, the Holiday Inaugural will go as Race 6 with a post time of 8:25 p.m. The nine-race program will get underway at 5:55 p.m.

          In partnership with Claiborne Farm, the Holiday Inaugural is the first of a three-race series that will award fillies and mares credits towards a future stallion paring upon their retirement. The Top 3 will receive $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500, respectively, to use before the end of the 2025 breeding season. Claiborne Credits will only be applied to the top 3 finishing horses but may be transferred with the horse if the ownership were to change.

The accomplished Marissa’s Lady returns to action at Turfway where she was victorious in the 2022 Valdale and Serenas Song Stakes and 2021 Gowell Stakes. Trained by Bill Morey, Marissa’s Lady was off from the races until late May when she returned to action over the dirt at Churchill Downs with a fifth-place finish in the Winning Colors Stakes (GIII). After that race, Morey switched Marissa’s Lady to the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs where she was recorded an impressive three-length score in an allowance event and a narrow three-quarters of a length victory in the Satin N Lace Stakes. Marissa’s Lady will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from post No. 4. 

          Another accomplished filly entered in the Holiday Inaugural is Fortune FarmRobert Hahn and Matthew Hand’s Grade III winner Secret Money. Trained by Brendan Walsh, Secret Money stormed home to a one-length victory in the Music City Stakes (GIII) at Kentucky Downs. Thanks to her victory in the Music City, Secret Money has banked $744,561 in career earnings through just seven starts. The three-time winning daughter of Good Samaritan will be ridden by Declan Cannon from post 12.

          Other notable fillies and mares that entered the Holiday Inaugural include G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Valley View Stakes (GIII) third-place finisher BlingR. Larry Johnson’s Ontario Fashion Stakes (GIII) winner Spun Glass and Dixiana Farms’ multiple stakes winner Train to Artemus

          Here is the complete field for the Holiday Inaugural Stakes in order of post positions (with jockey and trainer):

1. Thunders Rocknroll (Axel Concepcion, Reina Gonzalez)

2. Quaria Comet (Joe Talamo, Paulo Lobo)

3. B G Warrior (Joe Ramos, Hugo Andrade)

4. Marissa’s Lady (Bejarano, Morey)

5. Baby No Worries (Walter Rodriguez, Tim Girten)

6. Bling (Martin Garcia, Vicki Oliver)

7. Artie’s Princess (Tyler Connor, Saffie Joseph Jr.)

8. Spun Glass (Gerardo Corrales, Mike Trombetta)

9. Jill Jitterbug (Fernando De La Cruz, Ryan Walsh)

10. Train to Artemus (Abel Cedillo, John Ennis)

11. Lady Goldstart (Martin Chuan, Mike Maker)

12. Secret Money (Cannon (1), Walsh)

13. Awesome Treat (Cannon (2), Justin Wojczynski)

14. Time for an Angel (Joe Rocco Jr., Mike Trombetta)

Jennie Rees is a communications and advocacy specialist in the horse industry who spent 32 years covering horse racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal before taking a corporate buyout. In addition to handling communications for the Kentucky HBPA, Rees is Kentucky Downs’ publicity director, manages in-season racing publicity for Ellis Park and serves as a consultant to the National HBPA. Other projects include the Preakness Stakes, Indiana Grand’s Indiana Derby Week and work for various HBPA affiliates and horsemen’s associations.