03/02/2013 5:56PM

Turfway Park: General Election takes Battaglia Memorial


General Election powered from well off the pace under jockey Albin Jimenez to win his stakes debut Saturday in the 31st running of the $75,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky.

Shipping back to his Kentucky homeland for owner WinStar Farm and trainer Kellyn Gorder after two uninspiring first-level allowance tries at Fair Grounds, General Election returned $28 after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:46.13 over Polytrack. A field of 11 3-year-olds started, with Star Contender being an early scratch for trainer Mark Casse.

Long-priced horses filled out the top positions. Giant Finish, a New York-bred shipper for trainer Tony Dutrow, was prominent throughout at 10-1 before settling for second, a half-length behind the rallying winner. For Greater Glory (8-1), in from Oaklawn Park, was another three-quarters of a length back in third, while local runner Takin the Sloroad (50-1) was fourth.

General Election, a Harlan’s Holiday colt, had won just once in three prior tries and had finished a distant second and a well-back sixth in his two tries in New Orleans.

The Battaglia does not offer any points toward Kentucky Derby eligibility but does serve as the local prep for the Turfway showcase, the $550,000 Spiral Stakes on March 23. The Spiral is worth 50 Derby points to the winner.

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Clearly the disappointments in the race were Bye Bye Bernie, who forced all the pace as the 2-1 favorite before fading, and Admiral Kitten, who was never a factor as the 3-1 second choice after going to his knees at the start.

The $2 exacta (7-12) paid $452; the $1 trifecta (7-12-6) returned $1,060.60; and the 10-cent superfecta (7-12-6-8) was worth $1,292.12.

Jiminez has had something of a breakout meet at Turfway this winter while second in the standings behind Norberto Arroyo Jr.