Betting opportunities abound on Kentucky Turf Cup Day
The $750,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) is the headliner and Kentucky Downs features another strong program filled with competitive races on Saturday. A total of five stakes worth a combined $2.7 million will be offered and there’s seldom a short field at the turf-exclusive venue.
The stakes action begins in Race 6 and I will pay attention to how post positions fare early in the program. On Thursday, horses breaking from outside posts performed well and no winners broke from posts 1-3. The morning line favorites in the first two races today are breaking from inside posts.
Here are some of my thoughts on the 10-race card:
Race 5: Turf has always been the plan for #6 Demolition (6-1). A son of 16% turf sire Blame, the three-year-old hails from the turf stakes-winning dam Annihilation and both siblings to race are turf winners. He broke his maiden on the main track at Tampa in early March but headed to the sidelines afterward, returning with an unplaced effort over a muddy track at Saratoga in early August. That race was strictly a set-up for today and co-leading rider Julien Leparoux will be up for his turf debut. I like Demolition’s chances in this entry-level allowance.
Race 6: The $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint features 11 runners including a dangerous pair of fillies from Wesley Ward in Moonlight Romance and Mae Never No. I am giving the edge to #3 Faraway Kitten (12-1), a Kitten’s Joy colt trying turf after winning his first start on Woodbine’s Tapeta. Mike Maker has won more than twice as many races as any other conditioner at Kentucky Downs the past two years and is off to another fast start with five wins from 12 starts. Faraway Kitten will receive a positive rider switch to Tyler Gaffalione, who is tied with Leparoux with four wins, and bay colt received a good education last time, dueling between a pair of rivals in the stretch before graduating by a half-length. There’s speed on the bottom half of his pedigree (out of an Indian Charlie mare who relished turf) and Faraway Kitten could prove to be a nice one for Ken Ramsey.
Race 9: Several of the 12 entrants in the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) promise to be winging from the start and I’ll tab late-running #7 White Flag (6-1) to be along in time. The four-year-old came on last fall for Christophe Clement, making his stakes debut a winning one in the Allied Forces and finishing third in the Nearctic (G2), and White Flag returns to stakes company off a sharp allowance at Belmont in which he netted a 104 BRIS Late Pace rating. Joel Rosario has the call.
Race 10: Maker has four of the 12 in the Turf Cup and I like the value with #9 Soglio (12-1), a four-year-old who is starting to discover his best form. A 10-length allowance scorer three back, Soglio chased the pace when making his graded stakes debut in the July 7 Stars and Stripes (G3) at Arlington and wound up a close third, beaten only a half-length. He exits a solid third in a Saratoga allowance to the up-and-coming Focus Group, who came back to win the John’s Call for Chad Brown, and Soglio shows four works in a 22-day period since the last outing. With little pace entered, Soglio will be forwardly placed with Luis Saez and is eligible to save plenty for the latter stages on a course that featured five front-running winners Thursday.