12/01/2016 11:10AM

Greenhill, Ward start meet with a bang

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John Englehardt
Trainer Jeff Greenhill went 3 for 4 opening day at Turfway Park.

FLORENCE, Ky. – Mike Maker and Wesley Ward have their better horses in Florida at this time of year, but they still cast major shadows at Turfway.

Maker and Ward figure as the leading trainers at the holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31, not only because they have greater numbers at their disposal than most of their training brethren but also because they frequently drop horses in class, not worrying whether they lose them via the claim box.

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Jeff Greenhill, whose 28-horse stable is among the largest among the trainers whose year-round circuit consists primarily of Turfway and Belterra Park, is cognizant of the power of Maker and Ward.

“It impacts me, but they’ve got different agendas,” said Greenhill. “I envy them, but I don’t dislike them. Their racing here probably helps the meet in the long run, and anything that helps the meet helps the rest of us.”

Backers of Ward and Greenhill got some quick help on the nine-race opening-night card Wednesday night: Ward went 2 for 2, surpassed only by Greenhill, who went 3 for 4, with his winners paying $16.80, $16.40, and $8.60. Abel Lezcano was aboard all three Greenhill winners.

Greenhill, a former chemical engineer, said with a laugh: “Maybe I target the Turfway meet, but I’m just not smart enough to know it.”