Friday night under the lights at Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, will be a big draw for Canadian racing fans as the early Queen’s Plate favourite GRETZKY THE GREAT gets his 3-year-old season underway in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes.

The Gary Barber and Eclipse Thoroughbreds colt, bred by Anderson Farms in St. Thomas, Ontario, has drawn post 1 in a 12 horse field (one also eligible) going 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather surface. Post time is 8:16 p.m.

Gretzky the Great has the highest single Beyer Speed Figure in the field of 82, earned when he won the Grade 1 Summer Stakes on the grass last fall at Woodbine. He won his maiden on Tapeta at Woodbine at six furlongs and this will be his second attempt at a two-turn distance following his sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last year at Keeneland.

This seems like a good spot to get the son of Nyquist going for 2021 as the race offers Kentucky Derby points (10-4-2) and gives trainer Mark Casse plenty of time to see how Gretzky fits into the US picture. The Queen’s Plate is not until Aug. 22.

Most of Gretzky the Great’s rivals on Friday night have been racing recently so he gives away an edge to those guys but there are only two other stakes winners in the field.

Equibase entries for the John Battaglia Stakes:

Turfway Park STAKES – post time 8:16 p.m.

Purse $100,000. (Includes $25,000 – KTDF – Kentucky TB Devt Fund). For Three-Year-Olds. One And One Sixteenth Miles. (All Weather Track)

PP Horse Stable A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer

1 Gretzky the Great (ON) 3/C G Corrales 124 M E Casse
2 The Predicament (KY) 3/G R M Hernandez 118 T E Hamm
3 Twirling Mamba (KY) 3/C A Jimenez 118 J A Ortiz
4 Like the King (KY) 3/C R Bejarano 118 W A Ward
5 Kinetic Sky (KY) 3/C D L Parker 118 B H Cox
6 Pico d’Oro (KY) 3/C J McKee 122 W E Morey
7 Hard Rye Guy (KY) Owner Link 3/C C Landeros 118 I R Wilkes
8 Hush of a Storm (NY) 3/C S Gonzalez 118 W E Morey
9 Fort Moultrie (MD) 3/G R A Prescott 118 J R McGaughey
10 Notable Exception (KY) 3/C D Cannon 118 J Sisterson
11 Catman (KY) 3/C E Esquivel 124 M J Maker
12 Warrior in Chief (KY) 3/C R Albarado 118 K G McPeek
13 Bakwena (KY) (AE) 3/C R A Prescott 118 D Miller

Owners: 1 – Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners (Aron Wellman) and Gary Barber ; 2 – Ramspring Farm (Clayton Patrick) and Blazing Meadows Farm, LLC (Timothy E. Hamm) ; 3 – Sandra Sexton and Ortiz Racing Stables, LLC (John A. Ortiz) ; 4 – M Racing Group, LLC (Mickey Gonzalez) ; 5 – Robert V. LaPenta ; 6 – Sandin Syndicate Stable, LLC (Gerald Sandin) ; 7 – Bourbon Lane Stable (Jamie Hill and Michael J. McMahon) Owner Link ; 8 – Joseph P. Morey, Jr. Revocable Trust (Joseph P. Morey, Jr.) ; 9 – Helen C. Alexander ; 10 – Calumet Farm (Brad Kelley) ; 11 – Paradise Farms Corp. (Peter Proscia), David Staudacher, John Piehowicz, Angelo Carlesimo and Michael J. Maker ; 12 – Three Chimneys Farm (Goncalo B. Torrealba), Fern Circle Stables (Paul Fireman) and C & H Diamond Racing, LLC (Greg Back and Al Larose) ; 13 – Silverton Hill, LLC (Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton)

Breeders: 1 – Anderson Farms Ont. Inc.; 2 – Ramspring Farm & Clay B. Patrick; 3 – Sandra Sexton; 4 – Horseshoe Racing LLC; 5 – Elm Tree Farm, LLC, Curt Leake, TimeWill Tell, LLC & Warren Harang; 6 – Southern Equine Stables, LLC & SouthernEquestrian Stables, LLC; 7 – Godolphin & John R. Penn; 8 – Berkshire Stud; 9 – Helen C. Alexander; 10 – Calumet Farm; 11 – Steve Feiger & Kenneth L. & Sarah K.Ramsey; 12 – Woods Edge Farm, LLC; 13 – Silverton Hill, LLC


Queen’s Plate Top 15

1. GRETZKY THE GREAT  – working at Palm Meadows

2. STEPHEN – training in Ontario

3. TIO MAGICO – working in Florida


5. HADDASSAH – training in Ontario

6. CURLIN’S CATCH – also Oaks, racing in Florida

7. GIANT WATERS – training in Florida

8. MASTER SPY  – no workouts recorded

9. DREAMING OF DREW – Oaks, working at Winding Oaks

10. WEYBURN – training in New York

11. KEEP GRINDING – training in Ontario

12. TRUFFLE KING – training in Ontario

13. CRUDEN BAY -training in Ontario

14.. RED RIVER REBEL – training in Ontario

15. IL MALOCCHIO – Oaks, in Florida