03/05/2011 11:05PM

Turfway: Positive Response dominates Battaglia

Patrick Lang/Lang Photography
Northern California shipper Positive Response cruises to victory in the John Battaglia.

Positive Response, a Northern California invader sent away the 2-1 choice, dominated from the outset while the rest of the favorites largely disappointed Saturday night in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park.

With Julien Couton riding for trainer Bill Morey, Positive Response seized the lead heading into the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race, then dictated the running before shaking off a pair of longshots turning for home and prevailing by seven lengths.

KENTUCKY DERBY NEWS: Track all the 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail

Taptowne, an 11-1 shot, finished second, followed by Son of Posse at 93-1. Twinspired, the 2-1 second choice, rallied late to salvage fourth in the field of nine 3-year-olds.

Positive Response, a Florida-bred gelding by Pomeroy, is owned by the partnership of Morey, Saul Gevertz, Ray Pagano, and Roger Newman. He returned $6 after finishing the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.13 following fractions of 24.26 seconds, 48.29, and 1:12.84.

The Battaglia serves as the local prep for the annual Turfway showcase, the Grade 3, $500,000 Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, set for the afternoon of March 26.

Positive Response now has won three stakes in his last four tries, including the Jan. 15 California Derby over the synthetic surface at his home track, Golden Gate Fields. He is nominated to the Vinery Spiral and to the April 16 Blue Grass Stakes on Polytrack at Keeneland, and Morey indicated before the race that he was likely to run back in one of those, assuming a good effort in the Battaglia. In all, Positive Response has won 5 of 8 races, all over synthetics.

The $2 exacta (6-8) paid $52.40 and the $1 trifecta (6-8-7) paid $666.60.