12/16/2005 12:00AM

Seven-horse stable leads the way


Jackie Christenson earned a degree in journalism from Arizona State University but was unable to resist her true love: the backstretch.

"I couldn't be inside all the time," said Christenson. "I had to get back to the horses."

In a way, however, Christenson is doing her part to write a nice story. Through Thursday night, she was tied for the lead atop the Turfway Park trainer standings with four wins despite having just seven horses under her care at the Florence, Ky., track.

"With just seven stalls, I don't know how long I can hold off all these bigger outfits," said Christenson. "I guess I'm just going to have to enjoy it while I can."

Christenson, 40, is the daughter of longtime trainer Ralph Christenson, who retired several years ago and now lives on a Lexington, Ky., farm, living vicariously through his daughter's feats. "I've been coming to the racetrack since I was 5," said Jackie Christenson. "I came back from Arizona in 1994 to work for my dad, then got my trainer's license in 1999."

Christenson owns several horses herself but also trains several for her only current outside client, Kay McBroom of Phoenix. The McBroom horses race under the stable name of K.D. Investments.

Christenson's four wins have come from just five starts, all by different horses. The stable's first repeat starter of Turfway's holiday meet - which began Nov. 27 and runs through Dec. 31 - was scheduled to be Wave Babe on Friday night. Besides Wave Babe, who won Dec. 1, the other Christenson winners have been Western Bulldog, Fiore di Napoli, and My Man Galloper. The last two are half-siblings from the Distinctive Pro mare Fior Di Castagna.

Christenson partly attributed her recent spree of success to the new Polytrack surface at Turfway.

"I love my Polytrack," she said. "It's very kind to horses. I don't get the best of the best, and my horses have problems here and there. Training over a surface like this is very beneficial to their soundness."

Christenson is among a mad scramble atop the Turfway standings. Into Friday, she and Joe Cain (16 starts) both had four wins, followed by six trainers with three wins, and 19 more with two wins. Trainers who might normally be expected to be among the leaders are having subpar meets - including Greg Foley (2 for 19), Dale Romans (1 for 15), and Bernie Flint (1 for 13) - primarily because their best horses are being rested following a rugged Churchill Downs fall meet.

Christenson said the fact that victories are being spread extraordinarily thin is a reflection of the depth that Turfway has attracted this winter.

"The barn area is more crowded than I've ever seen it," she said. "With Fair Grounds closed, and with everyone liking Polytrack so much, there are a lot of good outfits here. I'm just glad we're doing as well as we have."

Colonial taps Wehrman

Randy Wehrman, the longtime stakes coordinator at Turfway and its cross-river neighbor, River Downs, has been appointed racing secretary at Colonial Downs in New Kent, Va.

Ian Woolnough, general manager at Colonial, recently announced the hiring of Wehrman, who has lived and worked in the northern Kentucky area since 2001. Previously, Wehrman worked for 10 years as an assistant racing secretary at Penn National before becoming the racing secretary at Charles Town from 1997 through 1999. Wehrman also has worked as a racing official at Keeneland the last two years.

Colonial runs predominantly on the turf. Its 2006 meet will run 42 days, beginning June 16.

"We're thrilled to have Randy on board," said Woolnough. "His experience and his contacts will be big assets in helping us to present high quality turf racing."