02/19/2009 12:00AM

Mogge has two shots at happy birthday


If Wayne Mogge is asked to make a birthday wish Saturday afternoon, it won't be difficult to guess what he wants.

Mogge will saddle two of the top contenders Saturday in the $50,000 Valdale Stakes at his hometrack track, Turfway Park, where it just so happens he will be celebrating his 43rd birthday. Tacky Cat and Bodazzle will race as an uncoupled entry when facing 10 other 3-year-old fillies in the one-mile Valdale.

"Winning this race would be a nice birthday gift, that's for sure," said Mogge (pronounced MO-ghee).

Since opening a stable in 1991, Mogge has been based primarily at Turfway in Florence, Ky. Into this week, he had won 331 races, but not many with the importance of the Valdale.

Tacky Cat, bred and owned by an Illinois-based partnership known as Clovertowne Farm, will be one of the favorites in the Valdale, the 11th of 12 races. Five weeks ago, Tacky Cat streaked to a six-length victory as a maiden in her third start - all in sprints - in the 6 1/2-furlong Cincinnati Trophy Stakes over the Polytrack surface at Turfway Jan. 17.

Bodazzle, bred and owned by Steven Petit, has been more methodical in six starts, having most recently captured a 1 1/16-mile maiden race 30 minutes after Tacky Cat prevailed.

"I actually thought when Tacky Cat first came around that she'd be better when we stretched her out, so I'm pleasantly surprised she's done as well as she has going short," said Mogge. "She's a long-striding, fluid-moving kind of filly, and I hope she doesn't prove me wrong Saturday."

Bodazzle rates a solid chance, he added, because "she's a proven commodity at a distance. She's not to be overlooked."

Tacky Cat will break from post 3 with Orlando Mojica back aboard, while Bodazzle starts from post 8 with Otto Thorwarth.

Probably the main challenger to the Mogge duo is Emma Darling, whose trainer, Mike Maker, easily leads the winter-spring standings. Emma Darling was second as the 6-5 favorite in the Cincinnati Trophy but may be more effective at a mile, having won an allowance race at that distance at the Churchill Downs fall meet.

Walloon, Spoilher, and Super Poni also rate a look.