02/05/2009 12:00AM

One standout, one scramble in two stakes


Many horseplayers looking to play multi-race wagers late on the Saturday card at Turfway Park are likely to make a quick decision when they come to the first of back-to-back stakes. Unspoken Word looks like the proverbial "free space" in the $50,000 Likely Exchange Stakes, the 10th of 12 races at the Florence, Ky., track.

But the pickings in the following race, the $50,000 WEBN Stakes, don't look nearly as easy.

Turfway has doubled up on its usual dosage of stakes after having to cancel last Saturday due to cold weather. The WEBN, for 3-year-olds, was among the postponed races and was redrawn this week to join the Likely Exchange, for fillies and mares, on a card that starts at 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Both stakes are set for one mile on Polytrack.

Unspoken Word, a 5-year-old mare owned by Twin Creeks Farm, brings an indisputable class edge into the Likely Exchange. Claimed for $75,000 at Gulfstream Park from her breeders, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, out of her career debut nearly two years ago, Unspoken Word has gone on to win two minor stakes while also finishing second to Dearest Trickski in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita in December 2007.

Mike Maker assumed the training of Unspoken Word after she was withdrawn from a recent auction at Keeneland. "She was here in Kentucky when the owners decided to give her a chance to race a little more," Maker said by phone from Gulfstream, where his top string currently is stabled. "I'm glad to have the opportunity to train her."

Unspoken Word, with Victor Lebron to ride, will break from post 3 in a field of 12 entered in the Likely Exchange. Her latest race serves as fair warning that she will be extremely tough to beat: She won a Jan. 11 prep over the Polytrack by 6 1/4 lengths, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. It was the seventh 90-plus Beyer of her 22-race career; only one of her Saturday opponents, Solarana, has surpassed the 90 mark, and that was when she was in better form than what she brings to the Likely Exchange.

One race later, the WEBN will mark the first two-turn stakes of the winter-spring meet for 3-year-olds. The series winds through the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial on Feb. 28 and ends three weeks later with the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes and the annual Turfway showcase, the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes.

Besides the reassigning of post positions, there are a few changes to the WEBN lineup from the first time around. One of the main original contenders, Lookn Mighty Fast, was not entered this time, while the field size has increased from 10 to 12.

The strength of the race clearly is drawn toward the outside of the starting gate: Music City (post 7), a five-length winner of a Jan. 14 allowance prep, remains a likely favorite, along with Parade Clown (post 9), Platinum Van (post 10), and Azicharmyou (post 11).

Music City, a colt by City Zip, "seems like he'll do anything," said trainer Bill Helmbrecht. "He's a green colt with quite a bit of ability."