02/12/2007 12:00AM

Two weekday cards become matinees


In an attempt to lessen the possibility of having to cancel because of extreme cold, Turfway Park will run its Wednesday and Thursday programs this week during the day instead of starting at the customary 5:30 p.m. Eastern.

Weather conditions have been mostly to blame for Turfway having canceled five full or partial programs since the winter-spring meet began Jan. 1. Track president Bob Elliston said the decision to begin the nine-race cards at 1:10 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday will allow the track to take advantage of warmer daytime temperatures and avoid the type of situation that helped to force a cancellation after just two races were run last Thursday.

Turfway officials and horsemen say they believe that as temperatures drop, problems with the Polytrack surface become exacerbated, causing the track material to "ball up" or adhere more readily to horses' hooves.

"The high temperature Wednesday is projected to be 21, and it's only supposed to be 18 or 19 on Thursday," said Elliston. "Obviously the warmest part of the day is the daytime, so we thought it'd be in the best interests of everyone to make the switch."

Asked whether more weekday cards might be run during the afternoon as the meet goes on, Elliston said: "We'll take it week by week. If the weather stays as cold as it has been, we may have to entertain that thought."

As for how the betting handle might be affected by the switch in post times, Elliston said, "I don't have a real good feel for that. Wednesday and Thursday are usually fairly light for us anyway, so I wouldn't anticipate a significant decline."

Turfway plans to stick with the usual 5:30 post for Friday before shifting back, as always, to afternoon racing on the weekend.

The Wednesday feature, the eighth race, is a $25,300 allowance that pits a well-matched field of eight older horses at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Battaglia next target for 'Joe'

Trainer Phil Sims said Monday from Keeneland that Joe Got Even, the impressive winner of the WEBN Stakes last Saturday, came out of the race in good shape and will be pointed to the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial at Turfway on March 3.

Joe Got Even earned an 85 Beyer Speed Figure in his 4 1/2-length triumph. At least in the Beyer department, Joe Got Even has been remarkably consistent since running poorly in his career debut last July. In his five starts since, he has earned a 79, 85, 83, 84, and now another 85.

"We were tickled to death with the way he ran Saturday," Sims said Monday morning. "Speed had really been holding the last few days there, and I was thinking, 'Can he make a kick?' He went right through a hole and everything, so it was great to see him run the way he did."

Deegan doubles up again

Trainer-jockey Joe Deegan will pull double duty for the third time this meet when he rides the horse he also trains, Silverado Trail, in the sixth race Wednesday.

Deegan rode Silverado Trail to a third-place finish on Jan. 19. In his only other mount aboard another of his trainees, Deegan and Sooey Sunrise were beaten a nose on Jan. 26.

Toni Gabriel also pulled double duty at this meet as a trainer and jockey when she finished ninth aboard Royal Rosanna on Jan. 28. Royal Rosanna is entered in the first race Thursday, but Gabriel has named Phil Teator to ride the filly instead of herself.

* Trainer Ellen Atkins-Tippett won with the first horse she saddled when Silent Desert captured the fourth race Sunday. Atkins-Tippett, who has worked with horses for about 15 years, has owned Silent Desert, an 8-year-old gelding, for about three years. Atkins-Tippett is the wife of longtime trainer Steve Tippett.

* Hunch bettors should have a good time with one of the Wednesday races at Turfway. Candy and Flowers, a 4-year-old filly, runs in the third race, yielding an obvious hunch play for Valentine's Day.