Kentucky Downs horses of interest on Wednesday
Kentucky Downs’ opening day was transferred from last Saturday to Wednesday, thanks to the rainy remnants of Harvey, but the terrific card was preserved intact.
Here are my comments on runners of interest, mostly from a turf pedigree perspective but a couple of form notes as well.
2ND Race – A $130,000 maiden is bound to attract some nice juveniles, so several of these are eligible. #4 C. S. Incharge (6-1) is a Take Charge Indy half-sister to current Regret (G3) winner Sweeping Paddy and last year’s Preakness (G1) runner-up Cherry Wine. Likewise trained by Dale Romans, the May 5 foal will have learned a lot from her belatedly closing third in a five-furlong dash on the Ellis Park dirt. Robby Albarado rides her back. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen sends out a newcomer in #9 Scenic Road (9-2), a full sister to this season’s Lecomte (G3) hero Guest Suite, with Ricardo Santana Jr. at the helm. Although it’s unclear whether she’d prefer turf to dirt, #5 Lenamarie (5-1) is worth mentioning as a Paynter half-sister to champion two-year-old filly She Be Wild. Note that freshman sire Paynter’s close genetic relative, Oxbow, sired his first winner on the grass at Arlington (Delaphene, an also-eligible for the Juvenile Fillies). The Eddie Kenneally debutante has been training at Saratoga, where she’d sold for $335,000 as a yearling.
5TH Race – #5 Queen Anne’s Lace (12-1) would appreciate any residual moisture in the ground, considering she won first up on soft going for Dermot Weld. Winless since that 4 1/2-length romp at Gowran, the Calumet homebred was competing exclusively at the stakes level, garnering black-type with a third in the Silken Glider and not beaten far when fourth in the Park Express (G3). She was arguably unlucky to miss by a head in her stateside debut for farm trainer Jose Fernandez. That was a second-level allowance at Indiana Grand, and now she’s spotted in an entry-level event. The daughter of Lonhro, out of a Sadler’s Wells mare from the extended family of Darshaan, is well suited to the mile-and-70-yard trip, and she figures to be right in her element on this undulating course. Also of interest, more from a pedigree than class angle, is #3 On My Toes (8-1). By More Than Ready and out of a full sister to Saratoga turf stakes scorer Queen of the Creek, she hails from the immediate family of dual classic-winning champion Big Brown. Trainer Brad Cox boasts a 30 percent strike rate on turf, according to Brisnet, and the handsome Indiana maiden winner was a three-length fifth in a starter allowance at Saratoga.
6TH Race, the One Dreamer – Aside from the obvious class horses #12 Zipessa (5-2) and #4 My Impression (3-1), a longshot worth a look is #11 Flying Tipat (20-1). A full sister to multiple Grade 1 turf millionaire Tapitsfly, Flying Tipat handled this course when she missed narrowly in an allowance two years ago. She’s become a bit more consistent (relatively speaking) during this five-year-old campaign for Romans, and enters off a second-level allowance tally at Ellis Park. She’ll never be her sister, but perhaps an in-form Flying Tipat can outperform her odds.
7TH Race, the Juvenile Fillies – I had #8 Moonlight Rain (6-1) pegged as a surefire Natalma (G1) candidate after her strong-closing debut win at Woodbine, so it’s an intriguing twist to see the Mark Casse trainee turn up here. By turf star Point of Entry, who’s doing better with his early juveniles than you might have expected, the well-bred filly beat the boys in her unveiling at six furlongs and should progress as the distances increase. #4 High Tech (10-1) is from the first crop of the War Front stallion Data Link, and with her second dam being 2005 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) conqueror Pleasant Home, she’s from the family of Point of Entry. She quickened well when wiring an Ellis turf maiden for Ian Wilkes. #5 Go Noni Go (20-1) would be an overlay at that price, but the combination of first-time Lasix and the switch to Mike Maker could make her a market mover. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount on the daughter of Get Stormy, who sold for $100,000 at Fasig-Tipton’s Summer Horses of Racing Age Sale the day after trouncing a turf sprint maiden at Ellis. Wesley Ward’s #9 Ultima D (9-2) is a thrice-raced maiden, yet an obvious contender courtesy of her near-miss to the subsequently stakes-placed colt El Dulce at the Spa. While #3 Best Performance (5-2) is a short price for a turf debutante in so contentious a stakes, the Christophe Clement juvenile was second in the Schuylerville (G3) (whence sixth-placer Pacific Gale went on to win Saturday’s Sorority).
8TH Race, the Tourist Mile – I’ve had a soft spot for #5 Western Reserve (6-1) as a Juddmonte-bred son of Indian Charlie and Visit who was the last runner sent out by Lady Cecil. Subsequently sold for $87,000 at Keeneland November, he won Fair Grounds’ Buddy Diliberto Memorial for a fast return on investment and continued to hold his own in good company. New trainer Kent Sweezey claimed him off Cox, and again Western Reserve rewarded the investment with a front-running coup in the Warrior Veterans at Indiana Grand. Grade 2 scorer #2 Flatlined (6-1), a stakes winner over the course last fall and most recently successful in the Cliff Guilliams, will relish the prospect of a swift pace. They’ll be better priced than the logical #8 Irish Strait (2-1) and #3 Shining Copper (3-1), who presumably needs one off the 13-month vacation.
9TH Race, the Juvenile – Too bad #15 Captivating Moon (8-1) is stuck third down on the AE list because the Malibu Moon half-brother to turf millionaire Vacare showed some smart gears, and maneuverability, in his Arlington debut. Trained by Chris Block, the Lothenbach homebred is one to watch whether he gets in here or wherever he turns up. #7 Northern Trail (4-1), runner-up to well-regarded Dak Attack in the Ellis Park Juvenile, will try to give him a form boost when reverting to turf for a resurgent Jack Van Berg. #3 Bantu (5-1), no match for Northern Trail in his Ellis turf maiden, moved forward with a convincing, if still green-looking, win of his own. The Brendan Walsh colt also has ample pedigree power to back him up as a son of Stormy Atlantic from the immediate family of Power Broker, Miss Shop, and Trappe Shot. #1 Tigerbeach (10-1) might be 1-for-4, but his win came decisively in his lone chance on turf, and the son of Treasure Beach is entitled to prefer the grass. Asmussen’s #9 Snapper Sinclair (7-2) earns morning-line favoritism in light of a dominant score sprinting at Saratoga, but this seven-furlong affair figures to be a stiffer stamina test for the speedily bred son of City Zip. It’s equally tough to ignore #4 Arawak (9-2), since any horse of Ward’s beaten six lengths in the Coventry (G2) at Royal Ascot should find this more doable. #14 Pont du Gard (10-1) would be interesting if he draws in from the AE list, since he upset #11 Sky Promise (8-1) in his Arlington unveiling.
10TH Race – #5 Kitten’s Solution (8-1) is not only a full brother to multiple Grade 1-winning turfer Real Solution, but the Ramsey homebred was a hard-charging fifth in a 1 1/16-mile maiden on Arlington Million Day. The stretch-out to 1 1/2 miles might produce a breakthrough.
Good luck on a great opener!