11/30/2006 12:00AM

Quantity supercedes quality in Inaugural


Highly proven entities have dominated the filly and mare sprint ranks since Turfway Park switched over to Polytrack at the 2005 fall meet.

Hot Storm, an earner of nearly $800,000, won three stakes in a row - the 2005 Weekend Delight, 2005 Holiday Inaugural, and 2006 Wishing Well. Very Vegas, who earned nearly $500,000 before retiring last month, won the Queen Stakes last March, and Malibu Mint, a Grade 1 winner, took the Weekend Delight last September.

There are no such standouts in the lineup for the 2006 Holiday Inaugural, which will be run Saturday, but at least it's a full lineup. Favoritism, as slight as it might be, could be bestowed on any of a few, with perhaps Beautiful Bets, Golden Knolls, and Tax Refund drawing the most play.

Beautiful Bets is proven over Polytrack, having captured the Grade 3 Turfway Breeders' Cup here in September. Alas, the six-furlong distance of the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural might be a tad short for the late-striding Beautiful Bets, and she figures to have to do a lot of passing to record her second Turfway stakes win.

Golden Knolls showed signs of nearing peak form by finishing second in a tough second-level allowance at the recently ended Churchill Downs fall meet. Dale Romans trains Golden Knolls, a Seeking the Gold 3-year-old who owns a Churchill maiden win and Saratoga allowance score.

Tax Refund may take the most beating despite never having won a stakes. She ended her Keeneland meet with a resounding victory as the favorite in an allowance, then skipped the Churchill meet while posting several extremely sharp workouts, ending with a half-mile breeze in 48.80 seconds on Nov. 25.

Also in the main body of the Holiday Inaugural lineup are Midtown Miss, True Kiss, Dixie Dreamer, Bluesbdancing, Taylor Madison, High Heritage, Excellerant, Flying Glitter, and She's That Cat. Of those, Bluesbdancing, a multiple stakes winner versus Illinois-breds, might rate the best upset chance.

Two also-eligibles, Overocks and Ten Carat Ruby, will make the race only in case of scratches.

The Holiday Inaugural is the first of five $50,000 stakes at the Turfway holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. The winter-spring meet then runs Jan. 1 to April 5.

The Holiday Inaugural, the 11th of 12 races, is directly preceded by two allowances on what is easily the best card of the meet so far. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.