FLORENCE, Ky. -- Orchestrator hinted of a bright future as a synthetic performer when she easily won a maiden race at Keeneland last October.
After making her next three starts on turf, Orchestrator reaffirmed her synthetic skills Saturday at Turfway, edging Age of Humor in the Grade 3, $125,000 Bourbonette Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going a mile on Polytrack.
Well handled by jockey Alex Solis, Orchestrator was right where she needed to be from the start, stalking the pace in the middle of the track in second as Helen Belen established a big lead with splits of 24.42 and 47.68 seconds.
As Helen Belen began to weaken on the second turn, Solis and Orchestrator made their move, with Age of Humor surging on the outside.
The two fillies raced heads apart, with Orchestrator edging clear in the closing strides to post a neck victory.
"She didn't want to get beat," Solis said.
Orchestrator, a daughter of Bernstein owned by Michael Harrison's Koolmen Racing Stable, won the for third time in eight starts, racing a mile in 1:38.29. She paid $16.60.
Winning trainer Ken McPeek said he didn't think Orchestrator would be pointed toward the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on April 30, emphasizing her apparent preference for synthetic surfaces.
In contrast, Mike Maker, the trainer of Age of Humor, said the Oaks "should be next if all goes well."
Midway Holiday, who stalked the pace throughout, rallied to finish third, although she was never a threat to the top two. She finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Age of Humor.
Pacesetting Helen Belen, the 8-5 favorite, faded to sixth.
Rushaway: Exhi outduels Lonesome Street
Exhi took command down the backstretch and never looked back in posting an 8-1 upset in the $100,000 Rushaway Stakes at Turfway Park.
With Russell Baze aboard for Todd Pletcher, Exhi finished a length before Lonesome Street in the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack race for 3-year-olds.
After a brief, early tussle with Activity Report, Exhi loped away to a clear lead down the backstretch, with Lonesome Street taking up closest chase. Down the stretch, Lonesome Street had a chance, staying within about a half-length, but Exhi proved best.
"The colt really gave me what I needed when I asked him," said Baze.
Exhi, a Maria's Mon colt owned by Wertheimer and Frere, returned $19.20 after finishing in 1:44.47.
The victory by Exhi flatters Odysseus, winner of the Tampa Bay Derby earlier this month. Exhi was second, beaten 15 lengths, by Odysseus in his last start, a Feb. 17 allowance at Tampa.
In the Paint finished third, another 4 3/4 lengths behind Lonesome Street, and Positive Split, the 11-10 favorite, was fourth.
- Marty McGee
Hansel: Cool Bullet goes wire to wire
Cool Bullet easily turned back Kera's Kitten, then Strapping Groom, and led all the way in a 4 1/2-length victory in the Hansel Stakes.
Cool Bullet, a 3-year-old Red Bullet gelding, is trained by Steve Margolis. Ridden by Calvin Borel, he returned $4.40 as the favorite after finishing six furlongs in a swift 1:08.97. The win was the third overall, and the second in a stakes, for Cool Bullet, winner of the Sugar Bowl at the Fair Grounds in December.
Strapping Groom was in striking range as the field passed the quarter pole but was no match when Borel set down his mount.
- Marty McGee
Queen: Silver Time wins first stakes
Unlike the rest of trainer Cindy Jones s stable, Silver Time didn t head south for the winter to race at Oaklawn Park. Jones and her husband, Larry, felt she would be better suited to racing on Polytrack at Turfway with trainer Jeff Barkley, a former assistant to Larry Jones.
Saturday at Turfway, it was apparent the Joneses made the right decision. Silver Time posted her first stakes victory in the $50,000 Queen Stakes, outgaming Proud Heiress in a stirring stretch duel.
Silver Time had to withstand a taxing early speed duel and a menacing challenge from Wishing Well Stakes winner Proud Heiress, who passed her in midstretch, but Silver Time stuck her nose in front on the wire under jockey John McGee.
Favored Secret Gypsy finished another 5 3/4 lengths back in third.
Silver Time raced six furlongs in 1:10.12, paying $42. A 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie, she is owned by Tom Ligon s Cottonwood Stables.
- Byron King