12/08/2011 1:15PM

Turfway: My Charmer favorite La Gran Bailadora has fondness for Polytrack


Big-rostered trainers breaking camp for the winter frequently have to decide where certain horses will be going, and for what reasons. For Mike Maker, who tied for the training title at the recently ended Churchill Downs fall meet, where to send a 4-year-old filly named La Gran Bailadora was an easy call.

“She’ll be at Turfway Park all winter,” Maker said this week from his main base at the Trackside training center in Louisville, Ky.

No wonder. La Gran Bailadora, an Afleet Alex filly bred and owned by central Kentucky banker Tracy Farmer, has been outstanding at Turfway, posting 4 wins, a second, and a third in 6 tries over the Polytrack. With her last Turfway appearance resulting in a victory in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Distaff in September, La Gran Bailadora looks like a standout Saturday night in the 32nd running of the $50,000 My Charmer Stakes at the Florence, Ky., track.

“There’s no doubt she likes the Polytrack there,” said Maker, who will have sizable divisions at Gulfstream Park, Fair Grounds, and Turfway this winter. “We’ll run her in all the filly-mare races going long there this winter, and as far as I know, Mr. Farmer intends to run her through her 5-year-old year.”

The My Charmer, a 1 1/16-mile race that drew an oversubscribed field of fillies and mares, anchors a 10-race Saturday card that starts at 5:30 p.m. Eastern. The My Charmer is set for about 9:20.

Maker also has some race insurance in the form of Riviera Chic, who races uncoupled for wagering purposes. Riviera Chic, owned by Joe LaCombe, is a stretch-running type who would seem to fit far better than she did when overmatched in the Grade 2 Falls City at Churchill in her last start.

Besides the Maker duo, other viable threats include Spring Party, an Eric Reed-trained mare who defeated La Gran Bailadora by a head in the Wintergreen Stakes at Turfway in March; La Rocca, a 5-year-old mare whose best efforts have come on synthetics; and Niji’s Grand Girl, coming off a sharp runner-up finish in a Churchill turf allowance for trainer Ken McPeek.

The My Charmer, named for the dam of the great Seattle Slew, dates to 1980, when it was run in split divisions at what was then known as Latonia. The 2010 winner was Kiss Mine, with Greta Kuntzweiler riding for David Vance.

The My Charmer is the second of five $50,000 stakes at the Turfway holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. The winter-spring meet runs Jan. 1 to April 1.