12/16/2010 2:47PM

Return to Polytrack may help Stately Victor rebound in Prairie Bayou

Michael Burns
Stately Victor, who has run well several times on Polytrack, including this win in the Ontario Derby at Woodbine, will be back on a synthetic surface for Saturday's Prairie Bayou at Turfway Park.

It has been quite a year for the 3-year-old Stately Victor. A handful of disappointing races were intermingled with a couple of eye-poppers, most notably his 40-1 upset in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes in April.

The latest appearance by Stately Victor resulted in a dismal 10th-place finish in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, but trainer Mike Maker is hoping a return to Polytrack and a sizable dip in class will help the colt end the year on a positive note as the likely favorite Saturday in the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

“We keep trying him on the dirt, and he keeps telling us no,” said Maker. “We’ll run him this once at Turfway, then send him to Gulfstream and run him in some turf marathons before bringing him back for more Polytrack next year at Keeneland and Woodbine.”

Stately Victor, with Michael Baze to ride, was assigned post 11 among a field of 12, plus two also-eligibles, in the Prairie Bayou, a 1 1/8-mile stakes that goes as the ninth of 10 races.

The opposition for Stately Victor is fairly deep and led by Timeless Fashion, whose 5-for-9 record over the Turfway Polytrack includes a win as the favorite in this race last December. A 6-year-old gelding trained by Tom Drury, Timeless Fashion has far more early speed than Stately Victory and may have an edge once the field straightens away, depending of course on how the race unfolds. Jimmy Lopez rides.

Other possibilities include two other 3-year-olds: Wealth to Me, a last-out allowance winner at Churchill Downs, and Mint Chip, whose three career triumphs have all come over Polytrack.

◗ The nine-race Thursday evening card at Turfway was canceled because icy road conditions prevented a number of shippers from coming from Louisville and Lexington. It was the first cancellation of the winter.