12/01/2011 1:28PM

Turfway Park: Five Star Fun looks for strong finish to career in Holiday Inaugural

Coady Photography/Keeneland
Five Star Fun holds off Vanishing Grey to win an allowance race at Keeneland on Oct. 16.

After leading every step of an Oct. 16 allowance sprint on Polytrack at Keeneland, there wasn’t really anything that fit Five Star Fun at Churchill Downs.

“So we just kept her there in Kentucky for the race there at Turfway Park,” said trainer Al Stall, who otherwise has moved his entire stable to Fair Grounds in his hometown of New Orleans.

Five Star Fun, a 5-year-old mare owned by the Colombine Stable of Andrea Pollack, will be among the top contenders when making her 12th and final career start Saturday in the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural at Turfway in Florence, Ky.

Stall said he was inclined to bring Five Star Fun with him to New Orleans, but with purse money shifted around to accommodate the Claiming Crown series on Saturday at Fair Grounds, “there wasn’t a race for her” in the filly-mare sprint division.

“She’s one of those turf/Poly horses, and we’d like to send her home on a good note,” Stall said.

Five Star Fun has always flashed big speed and figures among the horses to catch as one of a handful of main players in the 26th Holiday Inaugural, which anchors a 10-race Saturday card that begins at 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Fourteen fillies and mares are on the program, although only as many as 12 can start.

Those other challengers include Helen Belen, whose five career victories include the Valdale at Turfway in February 2010 and a recent allowance on the main track at Churchill; Maryland invader Vanishing Grey, beaten just a neck when second to Five Star Fun in the October allowance at Keeneland; and Dr. Diamonds Prize, winner of the Gowell at Turfway nearly a year ago and most recently third (albeit disqualified to fourth) at 76-1 in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland.

The Holiday Inaugural is the first of five stakes, all of them worth $50,000, at the holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. The annual Turfway showcase, the $500,000 Vinery Spiral, will highlight the winter-spring meet (Jan. 1-April 1) with its 41st running on March 24.

◗ Turfway officials said they intend to lower the takeout rate from its 50-cent pick-four wagers from 22 percent to 14 percent, effective Jan. 1, and will seek to do so at a Dec. 14 meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission.