09/08/2009 11:00PM

Blue Lion newest for Woodard


If you want action, Joe Woodard's got it. Courtesy of his main clients, Billy and Donna Hays, Woodard always seems to have something going in the racing game.

After winning yet another training title at the River Downs meet, Woodard has shifted his focus to Turfway Park, the Florence, Ky., track located some 15 minutes from River across the Ohio River. Based primarily at the High Point training center near LaGrange, Ky., Woodard has about 75 horses under his care, with several coming and going at any given time.

The latest horse to take up residence at High Point is Blue Lion, a newly purchased colt who won 2 of his 16 starts for his previous trainer, Rusty Arnold. Blue Lion, owned by Donna Hays, is part of a stable coupling scheduled to race Friday night in the feature race at Turfway, a $26,000 second-level allowance at a mile on Polytrack.

"When a horse isn't up to their standards, they move 'em and we buy 'em," said Woodard, explaining the way the Hayses acquire some of their runners. "We've bought several from Rusty in the past. This horse just came to me [Tuesday]. He looks fine, and looking over his form, he should fit well in that spot Friday."

Into Wednesday, Woodard already had won 113 races this year, 10th-most in North America, behind Todd Pletcher (149) and in front of Steve Klesaris (106). During the 2005 spring meet at Churchill Downs, he set a track record by sending out 10 straight winners. He and the Hayses are known for dropping horses in for claiming prices that frequently are much lower than what the horse originally cost, a practice Woodard has often defended as a way to win lots of races and salvage at least something from the investment.

Neither Blue Lion nor his Friday entrymate, President Elect, are one of those price-plungers. They are part of a well-matched field of 10 older horses entered in the ninth of 10 races on a card that starts at 7 p.m. Eastern. Besides the Woodard duo, the other top contenders would appear to be Clapham, George Ray, and Chestermite.

Friday nights are particularly good ontrack at Turfway. Hot dogs and beer cost just $1, and live music and games with prizes are also offered.