12/27/2012 2:21PM

Turfway: Yankee Union appears capable of beating male rivals in Holiday Cheer


Tommy Drury was a perfect 4 for 4 at the Turfway Park meeting through Thursday. He will try to add a stakes win to his holiday meet record Saturday when he runs the 3-year-old filly Yankee Union in the $50,000 Holiday Cheer.

“We’re not doing anything we don’t normally do,” said Drury. “Things have just gone our way. It’s me and the staff and the jocks all doing our part. We’ve had some horses with conditions and some racing luck.”

Yankee Union, who will face male rivals Saturday, was entered to run against her own gender in the first stakes of the meet, the Dec. 1 Holiday Inaugural, but had to scratch when she developed a slight temperature, said Drury.

“It never got out of control, but I just didn’t want to take any chances because she’s such a nice filly,” said Drury, long based at the Skylight training center just east of Louisville. “After that, we were scrambling for the right place to run her, and this race seemed like it was coming up the right way. It looked like she deserved a shot in there.”

The six-furlong Holiday Cheer, the ninth of 10 Saturday races, drew a field of 12, including three females – Yankee Union, Ingenue, and Lou’s Angel. All seem to stand a decent chance against a rather ordinary bunch of male rivals, with Yankee Union perhaps being the most capable. A speedy gray Kentucky-bred by Yankee Gentleman, she really came to hand this past summer when she earned an 88 Beyer Speed Figure in a Churchill Downs maiden victory before following that up with a similarly strong allowance win at Ellis Park and berths in back-to-back $250,000 stakes in the fall.

Yankee Union will have Marlon St. Julien aboard and is favorably drawn in post 10 in the Holiday Cheer.

Other contenders besides Ingenue (post 4, Rodney Prescott) and Lou’s Angel (post 9, Perry Ouzts) include Gung Ho (post 2, Victor Lebron), a Ken Ramsey homebred who has raced exclusively on turf and synthetics throughout a modestly successful 11-race career; Latent Rush (post 6, Alberto Pusac), a 3-year-old with sneaky good form in turf and synthetics sprints; and Luzianna Man (post 7, Norberto Arroyo Jr.), hailing from the ever-dangerous Charlie Lopresti stable.

The holiday meet officially ends Monday. The first stakes at the winter-spring meet that begins Tuesday is the $50,000 Turfway Prevue on Jan. 5.