02/04/2012 6:35PM

Turfway Park: Mr. Prankster gallops in WEBN Stakes


Mr. Prankster drew off for another convincing score at Turfway Park when stretching out to two turns to capture the $50,000 WEBN Stakes by 7 1/2 lengths Saturday. John McKee was aboard for trainer Mike Maker.

Winner of the 6 1/2-furlong Turfway Prevue last month, Mr. Prankster lagged back early after breaking from the far outside post in a field of nine 3-year-olds, then surged into contention entering the far turn and proved tons the best. He returned $5.80 as favorite after finishing the one-mile distance in 1:39.18 over Polytrack.

“He was just drawing away from this field,” said McKee. “He answered a lot of questions today. He was just taking me wherever I wanted to go.”

Phantom Fury, who took a clear lead leaving the turn before being overtaken by the winner, was 2 1/4 lengths clear of third-place Magical Season, another Maker trainee.

Maker, the dominant trainer again this winter at the Florence, Ky., track, was on hand from Florida to watch Mr. Prankster prevail. Maker co-owns the Kentucky-bred son of It’s No Joke with Louisville attorney Tom Conway. “He’s a house horse, so that makes it pretty nice,” said Maker.

Two races follow in the Turfway series for 3-year-olds: the $75,000 John Battlaglia Memorial at 1 1/16 miles on March 3, and the annual showcase event, the Grade 3, $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral at 1 1/8 miles on March 24.

Maker said he likely will run Mr. Prankster back in the Battaglia, assuming all goes well in the interim. While he has his better horses in Florida this winter, Maker also has a string at Fair Grounds in New Orleans and about 40 horses at Turfway, where is leading all trainers in every category, most notably in stakes wins.

* Earlier on the 11-race Saturday card, veteran jockey Julio Felix notched the 2,500th win of his career when guiding favored J. Pa ($4.60) to a one-length victory in the eighth race, a $15,000 starter-allowance sprint. The New York-born Felix, who turns 45 on Monday, began his career in 1989.