The top five finishers in last month’s WEBN S. return to Turfway Park Saturday for the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial S., the last local prep for the Lane’s End S. (G2) on March 27. Eight three-year-olds are entered for the Battaglia Memorial, run at 1 1/16 miles over the Polytrack.
KERA’S KITTEN (Kitten’s Joy) stumbled badly out of the gate in the first local prep, the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue, and finished seventh. He turned that result all the way around in the one-mile WEBN S., leading at every call to win by 2 1/2 lengths. Twice a stakes winner, Kera’s Kitten is three-for-five in his young career, with all three wins coming in front-running fashion. He has been training steadily and well at Turfway for Mike Maker, and Tom Pompell, aboard for the WEBN, is back in the saddle Saturday.
SLEWZOOM (Slew City Slew) raced in third behind Kera’s Kitten in the WEBN and finished second. LUCKY CHUCK (Evansville Slew) raced in second and wide in the WEBN and finished third as the 3-1 favorite. Both retain their riders, Angel Stanley on Slewzoom for trainer John Wainwright and Ben Creed on Lucky Chuck for trainer David Pate.
PATHOKI (Wiseman’s Ferry) was fourth in the WEBN but enters Saturday off a four-length allowance/optional claiming win at Turfway two weeks ago. He was first at the Battaglia distance three starts back on the dirt at Churchill Downs, but was disqualified to second in that event. Rodney Prescott is back up for trainer Lowell Stevens.
FISH (Yonaguska) was second in the Turfway Prevue but fifth in the WEBN after checking on the final turn. Orlando Mojica was up for the Prevue and has the call again for trainer Phil Sims.
Besides the WEBN reunion, the Battaglia Memorial notably drew Grade 3-placed CODOY (Bernstein), who will be making his first start since finishing last in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) in early November. He entered that race after running second in Keeneland’s Bourbon S. (G3). Codoy, who jumped into graded competition off a maiden win at Turfway for trainer Mark Hubley, has never had the same rider twice in six starts and on Saturday gets Sal Gonzalez Jr.
Completing the eight-horse Battaglia Memorial field are IN THE PAINT (Tiznow) and VOW TO WAGER (Broken Vow). In the Paint ran into traffic trouble in the WEBN and finished seventh. Rex Stokes gets the call this time for trainer Kellyn Gorder, replacing Fernando De La Cruz. Vow to Wager enters after winning a Turfway maiden by 5 ½ lengths despite stumbling at the start. Leading rider John McKee is back aboard Saturday for trainer Dale Romans.