12/13/2012 3:46PM

Turfway Park: Maker hopes Polytrack revives Derby Kitten, Twinspired in Prairie Bayou


He’s doing it with the proverbial arm tied behind his back. Mike Maker once again is atop the trainer standings at Turfway Park despite the fact he takes his best horses to Florida every winter.

Maker, who into this week of action led the holiday meet with four victories, has won 11 meet titles at Turfway while generally maintaining a string comprised of horses of lesser abilities at the northern Kentucky track. He is particularly strong in the upper ranks at Turfway, having won 19 stakes since the 2009 spring-meet.

This pattern might well continue Saturday when Maker sends out the uncoupled duo of Derby Kitten and Twinspired in the $50,000 Prairie Bayou Stakes.

“Their best races have come over Polytrack,” said Maker. “We’re hopeful we can get some form reversal from them.”

The best races in their respective careers have come in high-profile events: Derby Kitten won the 2011 Lexington Stakes over the Polytrack at Keeneland one week after Twinspired was beaten just a nose in the Blue Grass Stakes over the same surface.

Since then, the two 4-year-olds are a combined 2 for 7, with Derby Kitten entering the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race on an eight-race losing streak. Twinspired had been on a 16-race skein before finally breaking the drought on opening weekend of the holiday meet with an allowance victory.

Norberto Arroyo Jr., the resurgent jockey who scored his 1,000th career win last Saturday, has a return call on Twinspired, who was assigned post 4 in a field of 10 3-year-olds and upward. Victor Lebron will ride Derby Kitten from post 1.

Upset threats against the Maker pair include Son of a General (post 5, Terry Thompson), ascending the class ladder after winning three of his last four starts, and Night Party (post 10), who retains Shane Sellers when exiting tough turf allowances at Churchill Downs.

The balance of the field includes a pair of 4-year-old fillies, Submission and Eye Candy Annie.

The Prairie Bayou, the second of three stakes at the holiday meet, is named for the ill-fated gelding who captured the Turfway showcase race, then known as the Jim Beam, in March 1993 before going on to a runner-up finish in the Kentucky Derby and a victory in the Preakness. The race was first run in 1995. The 2011 winner was Proceed Bee, ridden by Rodney Prescott.

First post Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Eastern. The Prairie Bayou is carded as the 10th of 11 races, with post set for 5:42. TVG will have live coverage.