01/03/2013 2:15PM

Turfway Park: Bye Bye Bernie tries different path in Turfway Prevue Stakes


Whatever gets you there . . .

Kelly Breen and his clients, George and Lori Hall, are thinking outside the box when it comes to possibly making the Kentucky Derby with one of their better 3-year-olds, a dark bay colt named Bye Bye Bernie. They may be taking the Turfway Park route.

“He’s shown he likes Polytrack, so if he runs well Saturday, he’ll stay there another four weeks and we’ll just play it race-by-race from there,” Breen said this week while en route to New York from his main winter base in south Florida. “Turfway has a nice progression of races through the winter.”

Elvis Trujillo, tied for sixth in the Gulfstream Park jockey standings going into action this week, will make the trip north to ride Bye Bye Bernie in the $50,000 Turfway Prevue, a 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack race that anchors a 10-race Saturday program that starts at 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

Seven other 3-year-olds will face Bye Bye Bernie in the Prevue, with Mac the Man and the uncoupled Mike Maker duo of Mile Range and Smokinindaboysroom being his main challengers. Mac the Man (post 3, Norberto Arroyo Jr.) was an 8 1/2-length winner of the Prevue prep on Dec. 8.

Bye Bye Bernie showed early promise in turf races in New York before winning his fourth start and first on Polytrack, an October maiden race at Keeneland. He is unraced since then.

“Elvis said he loved the Poly, and the Halls were pleased with that performance,” Breen said. “We brought him back east after that, and he hurt his knees a little just banging around his stall, so we haven’t had the opportunity to run him anywhere until now.”

Bye Bye Bernie, by Bernstein, has been based in recent weeks at the Palm Meadows training center, where he has posted five workouts, all on turf, since early December. Breen said assistant Jimmy Reed will look after the colt at Turfway until further notice.

The Halls and Breen have another Bernstein colt, the more accomplished Bern Identity, at Palm Meadows pointing to more conventional Derby preps. Bern Identity won the Sanford at Saratoga and was second as the favorite in the rich Delta Downs Jackpot to end his 2-year-old campaign.

This is the 28th running of the Prevue, which leads to the following races in the division: the WEBN (one mile) on Feb. 2, the Battaglia Memorial (1 1/16 miles) on March 2, and the Turfway showcase, the Grade 3 Spiral Stakes (1 1/8 miles) on March 23. The Spiral, with 50 points to the winner, is the only race worth any points in the new system being employed for eligibility into the Kentucky Derby in case of an oversubscribed field.