12/01/2016 10:00AM

Dear Elaine looks to score meaningful win in Holiday Inaugural

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Needmore Flattery steps out of the Ohio-bred division in the Holiday Inaugural on Saturday.

FLORENCE, Ky. – Bert Klein turned 86 in November and has been hospitalized frequently in recent months, but his enthusiasm for racing has gone unaffected. The retired banker and longtime owner-breeder “will do what it takes” to watch his horses compete, said his son Richard Klein, and that counts Dear Elaine in the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural on Saturday night at Turfway Park.

“He’ll watch the race on TV or computer,” said Richard Klein, who helps oversee the family’s Thoroughbred dealings. “Nobody loves the races and watching their horses run more than him. A stakes win from this filly would mean a whole lot to him.”

Dear Elaine, a 3-year-old homebred filly, is named for the late Elaine Klein, Bert’s wife and Richard’s mother.

Alonso Quinonez has the call for trainer Charlie LoPresti on Dear Elaine, one of the favorites in a wide-open 31st running of the Holiday Inaugural, a six-furlong Polytrack race for fillies and mares that anchors a nine-race Saturday card. First post is 6:15 p.m. Eastern, with the feature, race 6, set for 8:40.

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Dear Elaine won a second-level allowance race around two turns on closing day of the Keeneland fall meet. Richard Klein said LoPresti is confident that the filly will successfully negotiate the turnback in distance “if she can handle the surface” in her Polytrack debut.

“We wanted to run her in the next allowance condition at Churchill Downs, but the races never filled,” said Klein. “We’d like to get some black type with her here.”

Other contenders in the Holiday Inaugural include Needmore Flattery, Momameamaria, Touch of Bling, Touch and Smile, Marquee Miss, and Misleading Lady. Fourteen fillies and mares are entered, although only 12 can start.

Needmore Flattery has been dominant in her Ohio-bred division since her career debut in July 2013. She is the leading earner in this lineup with a bankroll of $731,603, most of it coming in restricted races.

Momameamaria was good enough to finish second to Wavell Avenue in the Shine Again at Saratoga in August and fourth in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom at Belmont Park in October. She also will be making her synthetic-track debut.

Just one other stakes, the $50,000 Prairie Bayou on Dec. 17, will be run at the holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. Eight stakes are scheduled for the three-month winter-spring meet, which starts Jan. 1.