01/05/2011 4:22PM

Successful claim May One has improved on turf


May One is a $5,000 claim turned golden. The winner of three of four starts since being haltered in August, she is one of the top contenders Friday in a $40,000 optional claiming race for fillies and mares that tops the card at Fair Grounds.

The turf race will be run at about a mile and a sixteenth has a purse of $51,000. It is the richest offering on a program that also includes a first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. First post is 12:40 p.m. Central.

May One was claimed out of a race at Delaware Park on Aug. 23. She has gone on to win a $5,000 starter allowance win in her turf debut, for which she earned a career-high Beyer Figure of 80; a $16,000 claiming race at Keeneland in her first start on a synthetic track; and a first-level allowance on turf at Fair Grounds in her most recent start, Nov. 28.

“Jake Haddad of the Ragozin Sheets, he was the one responsible for the claim,” said Mike Stidham, who trains May One for longtime client Haddad. “He liked her on the numbers, thought there was some turf pedigree there, and wanted to try her on the grass.”

May One rallied from near the back of the pack to win at Fair Grounds under Jamie Theriot, who has the mount again Friday. Stidham said it appears that the mare is finishing stronger on turf.

“She seems to settle, relax, and close very well,” he said, “whereas on dirt she would drop back and make a move and hang and not have that same punch.”

The chief threat in the race, which goes as the seventh, is Going to the Sun.

Exhilarating will be making her second start since July in the eighth race, the first-level allowance that will be run at six furlongs. She was third at the same trip on Dec. 17.

“She should move forward,” said Aimee Dollase, assistant to trainer Wally Dollase. “She’s trained well in between races. That was a big effort off a long layoff, and she acts like she’s moving forward.”

Exhilarating, who won a maiden special weight at Churchill Downs on July 1 with a Beyer of 83, will break from post 5 under jockey Corey Lanerie. Dollase said she looks for Exhilarating, who is out of the Grade  3-winning mare Inspiring, to again have a stalking trip Friday.