12/22/2011 3:39PM

Turfway: Danzik stablemates both look like contenders in Gowell


Two of the 22 runners that Billy Denzik has in his stable at the High Pointe training center in LaGrange, Ky., look like solid contenders in the $50,000 Gowell Stakes when Turfway Park resumes racing Monday afternoon following the two-day Christmas break.

Best of Times, exiting a tough Churchill Downs allowance, and Southern Bling, an allowance winner at the current holiday meet, are part of an oversubscribed field of 2-year-old fillies entered in the Gowell, a six-furlong Polytrack event that anchors a 10-race card.

Denzik, a standout golfer at the University of Louisville before turning to training in 1994, will send the fillies on the one-hour van ride to Turfway in Florence, Ky., from his year-round base at High Pointe, where both and dirt and synthetic surfaces are available for use.

Best of Times showed speed in the Nov. 26 race at Churchill before fading, but Denzik said he expects the Mineshaft filly to improve.

“Not only did she probably need the race, but she also came out of it with a lung infection and some other little things wrong,” said Denzik. “We’ve got her all cleared up now, and I expect her to run big Monday.”

Southern Bling, winner by a neck in a Dec. 4 sprint at Turfway, “is one of those young horses that keeps improving like you want them to,” said Denzik. “She likes the track up there, and she’s really shown us that she’s a tough filly, really an overachiever. She came out of her race awfully well.”

The Denzik fillies run uncoupled for wagering purposes.

Mike Maker, the leading trainer at the holiday meet with six wins into Thursday, also has a viable threat for the Gowell in Lotta Lovin, who got stakes seasoning for her prior connections in south Florida earlier in the year.

Original Kitten, also trained by Maker, is the lone also-eligible among the 13 fillies entered. Only as many as 12 can start.

This is the 27th running of the Gowell, which was first run in 1985. The 2010 winner was Dr. Diamonds Prize, trained by Mark Hubley.

Starting Monday, Turfway will run seven straight days through Sunday, with an afternoon post of 1:10 p.m. Eastern in effect except for the 5:30 p.m. New Year’s Eve card on Saturday. The holiday meet ends Saturday with the $50,000 Holiday Cheer, and the winter-spring meet starts Sunday.