It’s Your Nickel used the first two furlongs of the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes to get acquainted with Turfway Park’s Polytrack and the last 6 1/2 furlongs to bury the rest of the field.
Beating only two horses early, he found his stride on the backstretch, split horses into the stretch and drew away from the eighth pole to win by 6 1/2 lengths.
En Hanse, who stalked the :23.76 and :47.66 pace set by Montu, led from the top of the final turn to the eighth pole and held second. Star Empire was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third, followed very closely by several others. Final time for the 1 1/16 mile race for 3-year-olds was 1:44.66.
The Battaglia Memorial was It’s Your Nickel’s first start on an all-weather surface and his first stakes win.
“He was farther back than I wanted to be,” said winning jockey James Graham. “He wasn’t handling the track real well at first so I just let him go on, but once he got his head down and got into a rhythm on the backstretch, he was traveling beautifully. From the seven-eighths pole he was doing it easy. He ran to his works; he’s been training really well at Fair Grounds.”
Fourth and following were Durango Dan, Hot Dad, Montu, Gorgeous Kitten, Fulkerson, Sailin’ Shoes, Hunka Burning Love and Strike Your Light. Ventry Bay was scratched by his trainer. Prince Hansen did not draw in and was scratched.
Sent off the 2-1 favorite, It’s Your Nickel paid $6.80, $4 and $3.20. He came to Turfway after being scratched from the Risen Star Stakes last weekend.
It’s Your Nickel is trained by Ken McPeek and owned by Harold Lerner LLC; Wayne Cutler’s AWC Stables; Scott K. Akman; and Dale Cohen’s Nehoc Stables. The win boosted the colt’s earnings to $140,375 and improved his record to three wins from four starts.
It’s Your Nickel is by Dialed In out of the Quiet American mare Bold American and was bred in Kentucky by Stephen Wigmore.
Edited Turfway Park release with additional content by Dick Downey