General Election Stays Out of Trouble to Win Battaglia Memorial
Albin Jimenez guided General Election past a melee at the start and avoided trouble in the stretch to bring home a 13-1 winner in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park.
After contesting the pace, Giant Finish completed the race half a length behind in second. For Greater Glory was another three-quarters of a length back in third.
The gate fracas erupted as Admiral Kitten stumbled badly out of post 5. As he regained his feet, Mellow Fellow lunged out of post 3 and came over onto both Admiral Kitten and Let’s Run, who broke from post 4. Mellow Fellow then shot to the lead and set a :23.65 and :47.80 pace as 2-1 favorite Bye Bye Bernie and Giant Finish tracked him.
General Election, who broke from post 7, avoided the tangle and settled five wide and far back. He made a bold move on the turn and went wider yet into the stretch, wisely removed from what became a roller derby contest to his inside. Both Giant Finish, who led briefly after six furlongs, and For Greater Glory, who came from far back, were caught in the bumpfest that marked the stretch run.
When the Polytrack settled, final time for the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia Memorial was 1:46.13.
General Election’s victory proved that patience through trial and error pays off. He broke his maiden at first asking on the Churchill Downs dirt, but since then he'd posted two disappointing finishes at Fair Grounds.
Finishing fourth through eleventh were Takin the Sloroad, Stormin Monarcho, Let’s Run, Bye Bye Bernie, Silver Tongued, Mellow Fellow, Avare, and Admiral Kitten. Star Contender was scratched by his trainer.
General Election returned $28.00 for the win, $12.40 to place, and $8.00 to show.
Given his performance Saturday, trainer Kellyn Gorder said General Election could return for the Grade III Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes on March 23 -- but that he would discuss the colt’s next move with Elliott Walden, president, CEO, and racing manager of owner WinStar Farm.
General Election now has two wins and one second from four starts and earnings of $81,910. By Harlan’s Holiday out of Menekineko, by Kingmambo, he was bred in Kentucky by Meg Buckley and Mike Buckley.
First run in 1982, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes is the third local prep for the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes, following the Turfway Prevue in January and the 96ROCK Stakes in February. The race honors John Battaglia, who as general manager of Turfway (then Latonia) was the visionary behind the Spiral Stakes, which debuted in 1972.
Kellyn Gorder, winning trainer: “He really hadn’t run well on the dirt at Fair Grounds. He won his first race on dirt, so we thought he just didn’t get hold of the race track at Fair Grounds. We tried blinkers, and that didn’t work. We were deciding between the OBS Stakes or here, and we decided to send him here.
“I told Albin to lay mid-pack and make a nice run. We knew there was plenty of speed in the race, so it set up good for us. I thought this race came up tough.”
Edited Turfway Park release