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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Team Valor Revives Rushaway Stakes at Turfway


By Dick Downey
@Downey Profile

Team Valor International, off of back-to-back wins in the Grade III Spiral Stakes en route to a Kentucky Derby victory in 2011, has teamed iup with Turfway Park to restore the Rushaway Stakes to the Spiral undercard on March 23.

The Rushaway, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds that's been a staple on Turfway's Spring calendar since 1986, had been written off the track's stakes calendar this year. Now it's back with a $75,000 purse.

Team Valor's sponsorship will go directly to the race's purse.

According to a Turfway Park release, Team Valor won the Rushaway in 1995 with Key Guy. The stable finished second in 2011 with Crimson China when the colt couldn't draw into the Spiral. But Team Valor was able to get Animal Kingdom into the Spiral, and the rest is history.

Irwin has a pair of 3-year-old prospects this year in Cerro and Crop Report. The latter colt was bought after he won a race at Newmarket in October. He's put in two works on turf at Palm Meadows for Graham Motion since arriving stateside. Cerro is entered in a nine-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Saturday.

“We didn’t want to see the Rushaway disappear, so we stepped up,” Irwin said. “It is nice to be able to support Turfway Park, which has been vital to our Triple Crown success over the last two racing seasons. Team Valor International races all over the world, but we are based in Kentucky and we want to do anything we can to bolster the local sport.”

Team Valor and Motion used the Spiral Stakes as a stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby for not only Animal Kingdom but also Went the Day Well. Animal Kingdom became the first horse to score in the Derby in his first start on dirt. Last year, Went the Day Well won the Spiral and finished a troubled fourth in the Derby.

“We very much appreciate that Team Valor elected to partner with Turfway to maintain the Rushaway Stakes on our Spiral Stakes card”, said Turfway general manager Chip Bach. “Team Valor’s on-track and winner’s circle contribution to Spiral Stakes day is well known, and their decision to bring their professional expertise to the day as a partner for the Rushaway Stakes is a wonderful opportunity for Turfway and for Kentucky racing.”

The Rushaway is named for the winner of the 1936 Latonia Derby at the original Latonia Race Course, open from 1883 to 1939. Turfway Park, also originally named Latonia Race Course, opened in 1959. The current name was adopted in 1986.

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