The 5-year-old Parlor will run at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky., for the fourth straight year in Saturday's $750,000 Tourist Mile.
Now a gelding, Parlor won his debut at Ellis Park, then finished second by a neck in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile. He returned at 3 to take second again, this time by three-quarters of a length after 1 5/16 miles, in the Dueling Grounds Derby. And last year he was third, a respectable 1 3/4 lengths behind triumphant Next Shares in the Old Friends. Next Shares, who also is in the Tourist Mile, won Keeneland's Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile in his subsequent start.
The Old Friends is for horses that have not won a stakes on the year. Parlor made sure he wasn't eligible this year by winning a $100,000 stakes at Delaware Park in his last start. It was his first stakes victory of his 19-race career, of which 13 have been in stakes. That includes a tremendous effort in Churchill Downs' Grade 2 Wise Dan two races back, in which he was bottled up in traffic but still finished fourth, losing by a total of a half-length.
“He's been placed in three stakes down there at 2, 3, and 4 and now we'll see how he does at 5,” said trainer Eddie Kenneally. “But he's doing well. It's a big purse, and he's coming into the race in good form.
“He hasn't run very many bad races,” Kenneally said. “He shows up every time. You're going for a big purse; hopefully it will be his turn to come up with a big effort and get it done. He likes the track. He hasn't been beaten very far in those races he ran in and racked up quite a bit of money. It would be nice to win one at that track. There are other horses in that race who have run well there, including a stakes-winner (Next Shares) at the meet last year. It's a solid group.”
Kenneally also is running Fenwick Station, winner of his only start at Indiana Grand, in Saturday's $500,000 Gainesway Farm Juvenile, as the 2-year-old stakes is now named.
“He won at a mile on the grass,” Kenneally said. “I don't know if there are any in there who have won more than one race, so it's a $500,000 pot for a lot of untried horses. That's one of the reason we're in there; we're taking a shot.”
Of course, that was Parlor three years ago in the Juvenile.
“That's the thing with Kentucky Downs,” Kenneally said. “You have to take a shot. If you're horse is doing well and you think they might like the track, you run. Because the money is so good. And it's not the end of the world if you're not successful. You can go back to a conventional track afterward.”
Kenneally thinks Fenwick Station is one who will handle the course. “You need a horse that is well-balanced, an athlete, agile,” he said. “Those types of horses tend to handle that track.”
Fenwick Station won his Aug. 7 race, at the Juvenile's mile distance on turf, at Indiana Grand by a nose. But jockey Declan Cannon was most impressed.
“I was inside the whole race, and I think he didn't like it,” Cannon said. “I've worked him back and he's improved from his race. He looks better on paper than what people might think, because he ran at Indiana.”
It's worth noting that champion Monomoy Girl and reigning Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress both started their careers with victories at Indiana Grand.
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