12/14/2007 1:00AM

Vance expected to make quick recovery

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Trainer David Vance will be in a Louisville rehabilitation clinic for four to six weeks and is expected to make a full recovery after undergoing successful surgery Monday to repair injuries suffered the previous day in a one-vehicle highway accident.

Vance, 67, was transported by ambulance early Friday from a Cincinnati hospital to the Frazier Rehab Institute in downtown Louisville, according to family members.

"Everything looks good," said Vance's daughter and assistant, Trisha Vance. "They'll work with him three times a day at Frazier until he's ready to get out. He's been so strong and so active that the doctors think he should be able to recover pretty quick."

Vance was traveling alone last Sunday afternoon on northbound Interstate 71 to Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., where he was scheduled to run four horses, when the accident occurred. His Ford Explorer hydroplaned during inclement weather, went out of control, and turned over in the vicinity of the Walton-Verona exit, about 10 miles south of Turfway. Vance was pulled from the wreckage and was airlifted later that night to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where surgery was performed Monday to stabilize the fractured C-4 vertebra in his neck and to remove a bulging disk.

Vance's son, Tommy Vance, said his father was "very lucky" to have survived the accident.

"The side airbag and seat belt probably saved his life," he said.

Trisha and Tommy Vance, along with their brother, Travis, are overseeing the Vance stable, which soon will move from Churchill Downs, which closes its stable area Dec. 31, to Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark., the longtime winter base for the Vance stable.

Vance is the 22nd all-time leading trainer in North American racing history with 2,988 wins from 17,547 starters. He has been training since his early 20s and has long been a fixture at Oaklawn Park, Churchill Downs, and other Midwest tracks. His greatest victory came with Caressing in the 2000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill.

Turfway seeks daytime racing

Turfway is seeking to shift to daytime racing on Wednesdays and Thursdays after the first of the year. The track has filed a request, to be addressed Monday at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority, that would give the track a daytime schedule for all but one day a week. Friday, perennially a good night for business, would remain with a first post of 5:30 p.m. Eastern. First post on Saturdays and Sundays is 1:10 p.m.

Wednesdays and Thursdays are weak business nights for Turfway, and while switching to daytime does not figure to lead to a major surge in ontrack attendance or all-sources handle, it would logically reduce the chances of colder weather leading to possible nighttime cancellations while also yielding a less demanding lifestyle for some horsemen, employees, and fans.

Turfway president Bob Elliston said Friday that the track will retain weeknight racing during the fall meet in September.

Holiday meet ends Dec. 31

Because Christmas Eve and Christmas Day fall on a Monday and Tuesday, respectively, there will not be any notable interruptions to the Turfway schedule as the holiday meet winds to its Dec. 31 close.

Post time moves to daytime hours from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, with racing conducted on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day despite those dates being a Monday and Tuesday. The track goes dark for one day, Jan. 2, before action resumes Jan. 3.

Jan. 1 officially begins the winter-spring meet, which runs through April 3.

Hernandez leads jockey race

Into Friday action at Turfway, Brian Hernandez Jr. had ridden 14 winners at the holiday meet and was clinging to a one-win lead over Victor Lebron and apprentice Dylan Williams atop a well-bunched jockey race. Hernandez, who is headed to the Oaklawn Park meet that begins Jan. 18, is the only one of the top 10 jockeys who plans to ride elsewhere after the holiday meet ends Dec. 31.

The last Turfway day was scheduled to be Saturday for Terry Thompson, who rides every year at Oaklawn. John McKee, a former Oaklawn regular who had considered going to Gulfstream Park, instead will remain at Turfway through the winter with Buddy Fife as his agent.

* The Sunday feature at Turfway is a $24,000 first-level allowance for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles. Pine Shelter, already second on five occasions at this level, and Indivia, a speedy filly with a maiden win at the Keeneland fall meet, look like the logical favorites. A field of 14 was entered, although only as many as 12 will start. First post is 1:10 p.m. Eastern.