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Office (812) 798-3620

Kentucky Downs Preview Day 2 Stakes Recaps


Contact: Kevin Kerstein
Kentucky Racing Communications
Churchill Downs, Ellis Park, Turfway Park
(610) 420-6971 (mobile)
(502) 635-4712 (office)


HENDERSON, Ky. (Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023) – Fergus Galvin and Rebecca Hillen’s Safeen rallied down the center of Ellis Park’s turf course and got by Bling in the final strides to win Sunday’s 58th running of the $300,000 Pucker Up (Grade III).

    The Pucker UP was Safeen’s first graded stakes victory from seven starts. She was ridden by Luis Saez for trainer Eddie Kenneally.

    Bling was sent to the early lead after breaking from the rail and was soon pressured to her outside by Frontal Attack. The duo completed an easy quarter-mile in :24.52. Safeen and Saez tracked in fourth while staying in the clear. Around the far turn, Frontal Attack began to fade while Saez tipped Safeen to her outside. In the stretch, Safeen drifted in slightly but was able to gain the upper hand of Bling by a half-length. It was another 1 ½ lengths back to Freydis the Red (FR) who completed the top 3.

    “She’s pretty quick from the gate, Saez said. “The two horses inside were the speed. We let her sit and get into a smooth stride. When I came into the stretch I was loaded. She can run all day and confident she can get the (1 5/16) distance at Kentucky Downs.”

    “I think we should have a look at the race at Kentucky Downs,” Kenneally said. “She’s starting to mature and relax in her races. It makes her a better horse. At this point I think she can go a little further. I think we have a little cushion now that we have a graded stake on our resume.”

    The race at Kentucky Downs Kenneally referred to is the $1 million Dueling Grounds Oaks (GIII). With her victory in the Pucker Up, Safeen earned an all entry fees paid berth to the Dueling Grounds Oaks, which will be run on Sept. 3.

    Safeen’s overall record now stands at 7-3-1-3 with purse earnings of $372,090. 

    Safeen is a 3-year-old daughter of War Front out of the Dynaformer mare Tafaneen. She was bred in Kentucky by Shadwell Farm.

    Here is the complete running order of the Pucker Up Stakes (with $2 mutuel returns):

    1. Safeen ($4.54, $3.22, $2.42)
    2. Bling (X, $3.86, $2.72)
    3. Freydis the Red (X, X, $3.14)
    4. Hang the Moon
    5. Lily Poo
    6. Frontal Attack
    7. Champagne Calling
    8. Wonderfull Lady (FR)

    Racing is set to resume Friday-Sunday from Ellis Park. Daily first post is 11:45 a.m. Sunday is Groupie Doll Stakes Day at Ellis Park where the 10-race affair will feature a six pack of stakes contests led by the $150,000 Groupie Doll (Listed) and $250,000 Ellis Park Derby (Listed).

    For more information about racing and gaming from Ellis Park, visit 

ME AND MR. C NAILS CELLIST AT WIRE TO WIN $250,000 KY DOWNS PREVIEW TURF CUP – Paradise Farm Corp. and David Staudacher’s Me and Mr. C nailed a game Cellist at the wire to win Sunday’s thrilling fifth running of the $250,000 Ky Downs Preview Turf Cup at Ellis Park Racing & Gaming. 

    Me and Mr. C completed the 1 ¼-mile distance of the Ky Downs Preview Turf Cup in 1:57.94, tying the course record set by Bluegrass Parkway in 2021. Me and Mr. C was ridden by Gerardo Corrales for trainer Mike Maker. 

    The speedy Get Smokin led the opening stages of the Ky Downs Preview Turf Cup while Me and Mr. C was relegated to 10th by Corrales. Get Smokin completed moderate quarter-mile fractions of :23.94 and :47.80. Up the backside, Me and Mr. C began to improve his position to seventh but it wasn’t until the far turn until he began making up ground on the pacesetters. At the head of the lane, Get Smokin was passed to his outside by Cellist, who was tracking his every move. With a furlong to go, Me and Mr. C was still in fifth but began making big strides towards the leader. At the line, Me and Mr. C got his nose down in front of Cellist to earn his spot in the $1.7 million Ky Downs Turf Cup in early September. 

    “He really closed ground fast,” Corrales said. “He’s a very nice horse and got the job done.”

    Me and Mr. C’s record now stands at a solid 33-10-6-5 with purse earnings totaling $545,039.

    Here is the complete order of finish for the Ky Downs Preview Turf Cup (with $2 mutuel payouts):

    1. Me and Mr. C ($34, $13.92, $9.04)
    2. Cellist (X, $12.52, $7.74)
    3. Siege of Boston (X, X, $4.66)
    4. Get Smokin
    5. War Campaign
    6. McLovin
    7. Camp Hope
    8. Mount Rundle
    9. Spooky Channel
    10. Kitodan
    11. King Cause

NEW YEAR’S EVE ROLLS LATE TO WIN $200,000 KY DOWNS PREVIEW LADIES TURF MILE – Qatar Racing, Marc Detampel and Fergus Galvin’s New Year’s Eve gobbled up ground down the stretch and got by pacesetter For the Flag in the final strides to win Sunday’s sixth running of the $200,000 Ky Downs Preview Ladies Turf Mile at Ellis Park Racing & Gaming.

    Jockey Luis Saez rode New Year’s Eve for trainer Brendan Walsh. The duo completed one-mile on the “firm” turf in 1:33.30. 

    For the Flag led the field of 12 fillies and mares through the opening quarter-mile in a solid :23.60. As the field moved up the backside, For the Flag continued her strong tempo through a half-mile in :46.45. New Year’s Eve continued to bide her time in 10th, well off the pacesetters. Around the far turn, Saez tipped New Year’s Eve to the far outside as she began to find her best strides. Inside the final furlong, New Year’s Eve found the lead over the tiring For the Flag and prevailed by three-quarters of a length. It was another neck back to Sinfiltre who completed the trifecta.

    “She always tries hard,” Saez said. “Her last start in the Just a Game (GI) was pretty tough against a very nice horse In Italian. She had a tough first part of the race today but she kept picking up horses late. The key was to keep her wide and out of trouble. It worked and she came with her strong run.”

    “She’s had some tough company her last few starts,” assistant trainer Paul Madden said. “She always tries hard and has a lot of talent. She closed with a bit of pace in front of her. It’s good for her and the owners. It should set her up for a try again at Kentucky Downs. She ran there last year and just didn’t have her run turning for home.”

    New Year’s Eve is now a four-time winner from 11 starts. Her overall earnings now soared to $646,075. 

    New Year’s Eve is a daughter of Kitten’s Joy out of the Elusive Quality mare Awesome Rafaela (BRZ). She was bred in Kentucky by Stud TNT.

    Here is the complete running order for the Ky Downs Preview Ladies Turf Mile (with $2 mutuel prices):

    1. New Year’s Eve ($4.88, $3.72, $2.78)
    2. For the Flag (X, $4.92, $4.14)
    3. Sinfiltre (X, X, $4.62)
    4. Querobin Dourada 
    5. Glenall (IRE)
    6. Henrietta Topham
    7. Fancy Martini
    8. Arm Candy
    9. Sweet Dani Girl
    10. Lady Hideaway
    11. Princess Thorem
    12. Boudoir Burlesque 

ONE TIMER SITS PERFECT TRIP TO WIN KY DOWNS PREVIEW TURF SPRINT – Richard Ravin and Patricia’s Hope’s One Timer sat just off the pacesetter Just Might and took control late to win Sunday’s sixth running of the $200,000 Ky Downs Preview Turf Sprint at Ellis Park Racing & Gaming.

    One Timer flew over the Ellis Park turf course and completed 5 ½ furlongs in 1:00.67, just .41 seconds off the track record set in the 2019 edition of this race by Totally Boss. One Timer was ridden by E.T. Baird for trainer Larry Rivelli. 

Just Might took control of the pace after breaking from the rail. The veteran flew through an opening quarter-mile in :21.23. While Just Might was leading the field on the front end, One Timer was taken in hand by jockey E.T. Baird and tracked second. Around the far turn after a half-mile in a sizzling :43.43, One Timer began to inch forward under Baird. In the stretch, Baird was able to get by the tiring Just Might and held off a late bid by Let My People Go at the rail and Bad Beat Brian on his outside. The official winning margin was one-length.

“When I ride for Rivelli, I know I’m live,” Baird said. “Just Might showed a lot of speed. I asked him out of the gate but didin’t want to run him into the ground going too fast. Sometimes you have to see what’s going on in front of you and go to another plan. Kentucky Downs is a different type of course. Some horses love it and some horses don’t. I think he’s the type of horse that can adapt to it. He’s pretty consistent.”

    One Timer’s resume stands at 11-7-1-1 with purse earnings of $721,335. One Timer is a 4-year-ld gelded son of Trappe Shot out of the Blame mare Spanish Star. He was bred in Kentucky by St. Simon Place.

    Here is the full order of finish for the Ky Downs Preview Turf Sprint (with $2 mutuel prices):
    1. One Timer ($4.44, $3.34, $2.84)
    2. Let My People Go (X, $5.72, $3.62)
    3. Bad Beat Brian (X, X, $3.26)
    4. Oceanic
    5. Charcoal
    6. Excess Magic
    7. Just Might
    8. Pure Panic
    9. Bakers Bay
    10. Mailman Money

Ellis Park, Racking and Gaming (“Ellis Park”) located north of the Ohio River and just south of Evansville, Indiana, has been the home of summer Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky for over 100 years. Ellis Park also features a gaming entertainment venue with approximately 300 historical racing machines.