09/19/2012 11:36AM

Turfway: Daughters of Five Star Day duke it out in Friday allowance


They once were commonplace, but in these difficult times at Turfway Park a third-level allowance race is about as rare as a pile of sandy loam at the northern Kentucky track. Nonetheless, a third-level allowance filled with six filly-mare sprinters and, voila, a worthy feature is in place for the 11-race Friday card.

Two daughters of the useful speed sire Five Star Day appear to be the prime contenders in the race, the 10th, which carries a $27,000 purse, half of it reserved for horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

Fortune Play, easily the leading earner in the cast with a bankroll of $333,779, and Helen Belen, a three-time winner over the Turfway Polytrack, appear to be the principals in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

Helen Belen comes off a poor effort at Presque Isle Downs in mid-June and has certainly shown that she is better than that, having won the 2010 Valdale Stakes at Turfway by nearly 15 lengths.

“She bled at Presque Isle, so we gave her the time she needed, and she’s come back real well,” said trainer Billy Denzik, who is based at the High Pointe training center in LaGrange, Ky.

Helen Belen, with Eddie Martin Jr. to ride, will start from post 6.

“She hates being down inside and loves the outside, so that’s good,” Denzik said.

Fortune Play, based at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky., with Johnnie Booker, has won 6 of 37 starts, with her most notable recent victory coming in the Holiday Inaugural at Turfway last December. Victor Lebron has the mount from post 2.

Besides the two Five Star Day mares, the balance of the field is Biogio’s Gift, Wanta Go, Credit Crunch, and Miss Dora.

This Saturday is when the once-prestigious Kentucky Cup series would have been run if not for Turfway having canceled all stakes for this 16-day fall meet. First run in 1994, the Kentucky Cup was pared down for a few years before finally being discontinued in 2010. It was revived in 2011, only to be scrapped again this year.

First post Friday is 6 p.m. Eastern, with Saturday and Sunday programs starting at the usual 1:10.

◗ Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will be in the Bahamas on Tuesday to start what is a huge week in his life and career. Hernandez is getting married to Jamie Radosevich, who is an assistant to Steve Asmussen and hails from a prominent racing family from Ohio. Hernandez said members of the racing community from Kentucky, Ohio, and his native Louisiana will attend the wedding.

Next Saturday, Sept. 29, Hernandez will be aboard Fort Larned in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park for what he hopes will result in a belated wedding present.