Da Big Hoss continues win streak in Kentucky Turf Cup

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 15th, 2015

The claim of Da Big Hoss for $50,000 at Churchill Downs in late June by owner Skychai Racing and trainer Mike Maker continues to pay off in spades. On Monday, the four-year-old Lemon Drop Kid colt ran to his third win in succession for connections when taking the $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs.

Rescheduled from Saturday due to wet course conditions, the Turf Cup and three other stakes were run over ground listed as good but seemed to have retained a lot more moisture judging from final times.

Near the back of the pack as Roman Approval carved out fractions of :49.45, 1:17.14, 1:40.27, and 2:07.20, Da Big Hoss advanced to third with a quarter-mile remaining and wore down both the leader and Power Ped to win by two lengths under Joe Rocco Jr. Da Big Hoss paid $10.60 and covered 1 1/2 miles in 2:33.40.

Power Ped finished a half-length ahead of Roman Approval for second, while 3-1 favorite Hyper finished sixth in the field of 12.

Elevated to first via disqualification in a second-level allowance at Saratoga in his first start off the claim, Da Big Hoss entered the Turf Cup off two-length score in the $100,000 John's Call at the same track going 1 5/8 miles.

It was a battle of treasures in the $298,400 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, with Sky Treasure rallying from last in the field of 10 to edge fellow closer Seeking Treasure by a nose in a time of 1:19.83 for 6 1/2 furlongs. Ridden by Julien Leparoux for owner John Oxley and trainer Mark Casse, Sky Treasure paid $10.60.

Theatre Star was another half-length back in third, while 11-10 favorite Shrinking Violet suffered her first loss in three Kentucky Downs starts in fading to ninth.

A five-year-old daughter of Sky Mesa, Sky Treasure was a come-from-behind winner of the Nassau (G2) over a mile at Woodbine in May, but was returning from a layoff of more than two months. She had run well below par in her latest outing, trailing a field of nine in the Dance Smartly (G2) at about 1 1/8 miles.

There was another winning last-to-first rally in the $180,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, where the Illinois-bred Sweet Luca charged home to deny Holy Lute by a neck at odds of 13-1. Ridden by Robby Albarado, Sweet Luca covered 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:19.44.

Bye Bye Bernie, a 55-1 outsider, was another nose behind in third, while 5-2 favorite Green Mask finished fourth in the field of 10.

Owned by Fortino Inc. and trained by Chris Block, Sweet Luca was exiting a third in the Addison Cammack H. and a second in the Black Tie Affair H., both state-bred events at Arlington. The six-year-old Candy Ride gelding was previously a two-time winner of the Addison Cammack, including the 2014 edition over eventual sprint champion Work All Week.

In the first stakes on the card, Closing Bell held off a late inside bid from Wireless Future to take the $299,300 Dueling Grounds Derby by a head. Under Jose Lezcano, the 9-10 favorite completed 1 5/16 miles in 2:17.60.

Owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Bill Mott, Closing Bell was winning for the first time in stakes company. A maiden winner on dirt in his second start at Belmont in May, the son of Tapit was subsequently fourth in the Belmont Derby (G1) and a distant second in the Secretariat (G1).

(Da Big Hoss photo: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)