01/12/2012 12:25PM

Turfway Park: Lunar Mist comes off long layoff in Wishing Well Stakes


A handful of fillies and mares in the $50,000 Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway Park are entered off sharp last races, but one who isn’t could emerge a major contender anyway: Lunar Mist, whose owner, Jerry Jamgotchian, paid a $2,500 supplementary fee just to make the gray mare eligible for the six-furlong Polytrack race.

Lunar Mist has not raced in more than five months, but was good enough to win a turf allowance at Santa Anita and a small stakes at Mountaineer earlier in 2011.

“We’ve got to start back with her somewhere,” Eric Reed, who trains Lunar Mist, said Thursday from his Lexington, Ky., farm after spending recent weeks in New York and Florida. “She really likes the synthetic surface. We were going to send her back out to Los Angeles, but I don’t think she was quite ready for those kinds of fillies. This should be a good spot for her, and I think she’s definitely ready for this.”

Lunar Mist, with Ben Creed to ride from post 3, is part of an oversubscribed field in the 27th running of the Wishing Well, which anchors a 10-race afternoon card at the northern Kentucky track.

Other major players with more recent form include Hungry Tigress, Networking, and M. McGonagall, all recent allowance winners over the Turfway Polytrack; Helen Belen, an allowance winner at the Churchill Downs fall meet and a three-time career winner at Turfway; and Miss Silver Brook, recently assimilated into the Reed stable after a 20-race career in Southern California.

Hungry Tigress (post 6) is the defending Wishing Well champion for trainer Bill Connelly and jockey John McKee.

In all, 15 were entered, with 14 making the program but only as many as 12 starting. Gracious, a recent maiden winner at Turfway, also was a supplementary entry.

Snow showers were expected to hit the Greater Cincinnati area on Thursday and Friday as the first such threat to live racing at Turfway amid what has been a winter free of cancellations thus far. Temperatures were expected to hover around freezing Saturday.

Except for the Vinery Spiral and Kentucky Cup programs, this will be the first Saturday afternoon card at Turfway in nearly a year. Officials announced this week that Saturday nights were being abandoned in favor of the more traditional daytime program. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

Otherwise, the four-day week remains the same, with racing on Thursday and Friday evenings and on Sunday afternoons.