01/13/2011 4:01PM

Fondness for Polytrack helps War Kill stand out in Wishing Well


Low-end claiming horses make their way to Turfway Park quite often in the middle of winter. So, too, do maidens of all varieties.

But graded stakes winners, not so much – making the presence of Grade 2 Beaumont winner War Kill – who heads a field of 10 in the $50,000 Wishing Well on Saturday - very much a welcome break from the norm.

War Kill, a 5-year-old War Chant mare owned by Dixiana Stables Inc., is there for one principal reason. The conditions, sprinting six furlongs on the track’s Polytrack surface, suit her perfectly.

She is 3 for 5 sprinting on synthetic surfaces, with two of those victories coming at Turfway, and the other in the 2009 Beaumont at Keeneland, the highlight of a layoff-interrupted career.

Coming off a fourth-place finish in an allowance at Keeneland Oct. 30, “we’re focused on trying to win another stake with her,” said trainer Kenny McPeek.

Most signals suggest she has a good opportunity to do just that in the Wishing Well. She has trained well at Keeneland, McPeek said, and the quick War Kill drew well in post 9, outside the other speed.

For much of this winter and other meets, outside paths at Turfway have been the best part of the racetrack.

Jockey Perry Ouzts, who piloted War Kill to her last victory – a 3 1/4-length score at Turfway in early October – returns in the irons.

Heading the opposition is Jonmil’s Edge. A narrow allowance winner Dec. 12, she comes off a 2010 campaign in which she finished among the top three finishers in all five of her starts.

Although she has raced in longer route races recently, Jonmil’s Edge sprinted effectively earlier in her career and like War Kill, is a proven synthetic runner.

A stalker, Jonmil’s Edge would stand to benefit if another filly were to duel early with front-running War Kill.

Other notable contenders include Minewander, third two starts ago in the Dec. 4 Holiday Inaugural at Turfway, and Sweet Gladys, a dominant allowance winner Dec. 27.

Minewander subsequently ran ninth in the Minaret Stakes at Tampa on Jan. 1, but should fare better with the return to Turfway, where she has won 2 of 4 starts. Three of her five victories have come on Polytrack.

◗ Effective Feb. 5, post time on Saturdays will change from 1:10 p.m to 5:30 p.m Eastern, with the exception of Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes Day on March 26, which retains a 1:10 p.m post time. As previously scheduled, also in February and continuing to the close of the meet on April 3, Turfway will reduce its weekly racing schedule to three days a week – running on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.