10/14/2009 12:00AM

Woodard hits ground running at Beulah


Beulah Park opened its 2009 winter meet with typical Grove City, Ohio, weather Tuesday. It was overcast and breezy with a temperature in the mid 50s. But not even the fall weather could cool down trainer Joe Woodard.

Woodard took the trainers' title at River Downs during both the spring and summer meets. He then went to Turfway Park and won his first training title at the track in September. He kept on rolling opening day at Beulah, winning three of the four races in which he had an entrant. Garden Dancer ($4.60) won the third, Zydaco ($3.40) won the fourth, and Mylilmoneymaker ($3.80) won the fifth. All three were ridden by Yuri Yaranga and, of course, are owned by Louisville car dealer Billy Hays. Woodard trains almost exclusively for Hays and his wife, Donna.

Last season Hays had two different trainers at Beulah, and Woodard shipped in a few horses, too. Wayne Bearden, one of those trainers, is now an assistant to Woodard and in charge of a string of horses based at Turfway Park. Tom Lehman will still have a few horses at Beulah for Hays.

Although he had great success on opening day, Woodard, who is based at the Highpointe Training Center in La Grange, Ky., is not sure how many starters he will have at Beulah.

"I shop for spots every day at Beulah, Mountaineer Park, and Keeneland," Woodard said. "It just so happened that we had horses that fit those spots and we were fortunate enough to win. I am not worried about titles, just winning races for Billy."

Woodard said he expects to run more horses at Mountaineer than he does at Beulah.