Nice as Pie rolls in Valdale; Surly Furious wheels back in Dust Commander

Turfway Park press release by Kevin Kerstein (Coady Photography/Turfway Park photo of Nice as Pie winning the Valdale under Adam Beschizza)

FLORENCE, Ky. (Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024) – Dede McGehee’s Nice as Pie sliced through her rivals up the backside and drew away in a hand ride under jockey Adam Beschizza to easily win Saturday’s 37th running of the $125,000 Valdale Stakes by 2 ½ lengths at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming.

          Trained by Kelsey Danner, Nice as Pie cruised 6 ½ furlongs in 1:17.57 for her third-straight victory of her young career.

          After breaking well from the gate, Beschizza positioned Nice as Pie about five lengths off the early skirmish of Indian Ink and Summerintahoe, who skittered an opening quarter-mile in :22.56. Around the three-eighths pole, Nice as Pie began her march at the leaders, while rallying four-wide and under a hand ride. At the top of the stretch, Nice as Pie took command of the field and drew off to the wire. 

          Cozee Rags, who was last down the backside, closed to finish second at odds of 39-1. She was followed by Vicountess, Indian Ink, PipitMa Rae’s GirlMairead, Summerintahoe, What’s Crackin and Party

          Nice as Pie was well backed at the windows and returned $3.02, $2.58 and $2.40. Cozee Rags, under jockey Albin Jimenez, paid $16.52 and $9.92 while Vicountess, ridden by Gerardo Corrales, returned $4.12. 

          Nice as Pie is 3-year-old daughter of Tapiture out of McGehee’s Include mare How Nice. She was bred in Kentucky.

          The Winter/Spring Meet marches on Wednesday-Sunday at Turfway Park with daily first posts of 5:55 p.m. For more information and to make dining reservations, visit

RECENT FOREGO STAKES WINNER SURLY FURIOUS ENTERED ON SHORT REST FOR $125,000 DUST COMMANDER STAKES Novogratz Racing Stables’ recent Forego Stakes winner Surly Furious is set to return on just two weeks rest and will stretch back out in distance for next Saturday’s 33rd running of the $125,000 Dust Commander Stakes at Turfway Park Racing & Gaming.

          Run at 1 1/16 miles, the Dust Commander Stakes will go as Race 7 of 9 with a post time of 8:55 p.m. First post is 5:55 p.m.

          Surly Furious, trained by Glenn Wismer, defeated six rivals by 1 ¼ lengths in the 6 ½-furlong Forego Stakes. The 6-year-old son of Upstart sports a solid career record of 26-7-3-4 with purse earnings of $504,679. Jockey Luan Machado, who was aboard Surly Furious for the Forego, opted to ride Ellis Park Derby runner-up Transect. Now, he will now get the services of the talented Abel Cedillo and break from post No. 4.

          The Dust Commander Stakes field also includes last-out Churchill Downs allowance winner Wizard of Westwood. Owned by Andrew and Rania Warren and trained by Michael McCarthy, Wizard of Westwood was a stakes winner when he was based in Southern California. Since he transferred to McCarthy’s Kentucky string in late summer, the Chilean-bred son of Tu Brutus finished fourth in the Dueling Grounds Derby (GIII) then dominated five rivals by 8 ¼ lengths in a conditioned allowance contest on the dirt at Churchill Downs. The Dust Commander will be Wizard of Westwood’s first start of his 4-year-old year. The three-time winner will once again be ridden by Gerardo Corrales and break from the rail. 

          El Kabong, a three-time winner trained by Rusty Arnold, will break to Wizard of Westwood’s outside, followed in post position order by Kitodan, Surly Furious, Transect, Common BondSantoriniGunton Roe and Quadra Island

          Racing will resume Wednesday-Saturday at Turfway Park with a daily first post of 5:55 p.m. For more information and to purchase dining reservations, visit

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.