02/02/2012 3:03PM

Turfway Park: Maker pair ones to beat in WEBN Stakes


Hunches aside, the WEBN Stakes should go to a horse more apt to advance along Turfway Park’s little north fork of the Kentucky Derby trail than Frankie Is Rock. Although the colt is a natural play in a race long sponsored by the Cincinnati rock-music radio station (102.7 FM), the favorite’s roles should be filled by an uncoupled duo of 3-year-olds from the Mike Maker stable.

Maker, who was the leading trainer at the holiday meet in December and continues to dominate at the current winter-spring meet – despite having his better horses in south Florida and New Orleans for the winter – will be represented Saturday in the $50,000 WEBN by Mr. Prankster and Magical Season, the respective one-two finishers in the Jan. 7 Turfway Prevue, the most recent stakes for 3-year-olds at the Florence, Ky., track.

Mr. Prankster, co-owned by Maker and Louisville attorney Tom Conway, rallied from mid-pack to be a 3 1/2-length winner of the Prevue, with Magical Season coming from even farther back to grab second from Frankie Is Rock in the 6  1/2-furlong race. Both of the Maker runners would seem to appreciate the added distance of the WEBN, which goes at a mile on Polytrack, while Frankie Is Rock, owned and trained by Rafael Flores, is a one-time winner who has never run a bad race in four tries but doesn’t seem to have the late kick of the Maker pair.

Mr. Prankster “is a house horse, so I can’t say enough nice things about him,” said a laughing Maker, adding he plans to be on hand Saturday at Turfway after spending most of his time in Florida this winter. “It’s actually a nice little rivalry he and Magical Season are building. In a perfect world, I’d love to see them both run big Saturday and continue in the series they have there at Turfway.”

John McKee retains the mount on Mr. Prankster, while Victor Lebron stays aboard Magical Season. Eight other 3-year-olds are entered in the 10th of 11 races Saturday, when first post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.

Two races follow in the Turfway series: the $75,000 John Battlaglia Memorial at 1 1/16 miles on March  3, and the Grade 3, $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral at 1 1/8 miles on March 24. Animal Kingdom won the Vinery last year en route to upsetting the Kentucky Derby.