The Player’s Edge – September 13, 2013: Kentucky Downs Stakes Saturday

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Matt Carter

September 13th, 2013

Kentucky Downs – Juvenile Turf

Kentucky Downs – Turf Dash

Kentucky Downs – Franklin-Simpson Mile

Kentucky Downs – Kentucky Turf Cup

Kentucky Downs – Juvenile Turf Here’s Johnny From France

A great Saturday of stakes action this weekend at Kentucky Downs, the all turf track in Franklin, with five races highlighted by the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup. The Juvenile kicks off the track’s pick-5; let’s take a look.

The morning line favorite for the seven furlong race is Here’s Johnny, the Wesley Ward-trained Colonel John colt who won his debut on the turf at Churchill Downs in June then was a good fourth in a stakes race at Deauville in France.

Here’s Johnny may be 2-1 on the morning line, but don’t expect anywhere near that price as the money is likely to come in early and late.

Second choice on the morning line is Boji Moon, the Iowa-bred gelding that has won his first two starts by a combined 24 and one-half lengths. Of course those were both on the dirt against Iowa-breds so even though he is bred for turf, he has yet to prove himself over the surface.

School On a Hill was 46-1 in his debut last month at Arlington Park, but ran more like 1-46, drawing off to win by just under three lengths in a maiden special weight race at about one-mile on the turf. The Student Council colt was trained by Pavel Vaschenko on that day, but is now in the barn of Wayne Catalano. Part owners now are Millennium Farms, who campaigned Student Council to a win in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic on the Polytrack at Del Mar.

Dale Romans upset a juvenile stakes race last weekend at Churchill Downs and he will be looking for a repeat of that with his two-year-old Pure Luxury. By Exchange Rate, Pure Luxury won his debut on the Ellis Par dirt two weeks ago and is bred to handle the switch in surface.

Mister Special and Sweet Daddy are also coming off debut wins in maiden special weight races, Mister Special at Arlington Park in July and Sweet Daddy over the Indiana Downs turf in August. Both are bred to run on the turf with Mister Special a rare Ramsey-owned horse by a sire other than Kitten’s Joy.

Of course they would need to step up their game to out run Here’s Johnny, who is looking to shine in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile.

Post time for the start of the pick-5 is 5:05 pm ET.


Kentucky Downs – Turf Dash Twelve Roll Six

A field of 12 is scheduled to line up in the gate for the Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, a sprint race at six furlongs. The morning line favorite at a lukewarm 4-1 is Ancil.

Ancil, by City Zip, has won four of his 16 career starts and is coming off a solid score in a handicap race at five and one-half furlongs on the turf at Ellis Park. Overall Ancil has won two of six starts on the turf, but has won his last two. He will be pressing the pace and will need some late stamina to get the full six.

Saint Leon is next on the line at 9-2 and was just beat by Ancil as the 3-5 favorite in that turf sprint at Ellis Park. Prior to that; however, Saint Leon was on a four race win streak dating back to May 2012. The second race of the streak was the 2012 Arlington Sprint and the last race was the 2013 Arlington Sprint. Know him early as the eight-year-old gelding likes to be out on the lead.

Up next is Longhunter, the five-year-old gelding coming off a disappointing sixth place finish in a $100,000 stakes race at Saratoga. While the top two choices have run in turf sprints shorter than six furlongs, Longhunter is four-for-six at the distance. He should have great position when the gates open and will be running on strong late.

The mare Sweet Cassiopeia and the gelding Regally Ready are both 6-1 on the morning line and while they are off form now, they have races in the past that would be could enough to win the Turf Dash.

Sweet Cassiopeia is a mare facing the colts and geldings, but she has won nine of 21 starts with five seconds and two thirds. She loves sprinting on the turf and will be doing her best running at the end. She is also entered for a race at Churchill Downs on Saturday so check the scratches.

In 2011 Regally Ready was the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, taking down the Grade 2 race over the Churchill Downs turf course. Since then, things have not gone as well, losing eight straight races. Perhaps the time off and the drop in class will get the six-year-old back on track.

Havelock may be one to back if he is anywhere near his morning line of 8-1. The Great Notion gelding won the Grade 3 Shakertown over the turf at Keeneland in April, but has not run since finishing eleventh in a pair of Group 1 races in England at Royal Ascot and Newmarket. Back in the states and over a trip he should love, Havelock is one to watch.

The others are all double digit long shots and would have to work to upset the top choices. Good Lord is the only starter with a win over the Kentucky Downs turf course, taking down this race last year, and that may just be enough to use him in the trifecta and superfecta, maybe even in the pick-5 and pick-4, which starts with the Turf Dash, post time 5:35 pm ET.


Kentucky Downs – Franklin-Simpson Mile “All” Look Best

The third leg of the pick-5 and second leg of the pick-4 is the $150,000 Franklin-Simpson Mile for three-year-olds and upward. The race drew a field of 11 and contention runs deep.

Coalport, off a win in an allowance race at Arlington Park, is the 4-1 morning line favorite with Trend, the horse that was second by a neck to Coalport in that allowance race, at 5-1.

Coalport has won three of his last four races with the only “bad” start during the four being a fifth place finish in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap in July. This is more like a horse owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey as the four-year-old is by Kitten’s Joy.

Trend has finished second three straight times and has been second in half of his 24 career starts. Use him underneath, but the six-year-old gelding is hard to trust on the win end.

The Pizza Man, Ol Army, Lonesome Street, A Diehl and Utley are all single digit odds and must uses in the pick-4 and pick-5.

The Pizza Man finished second to Coalport in the Illinois-bred Black Tie Affair at Arlington Park in mid-June and is coming off a third place finish in the Grade 3 Stars N Stripes in July. In 2012 the four-year-old gelding won six of seven starts, but must prove he can win outside of Illinois against these types of horses.

Ol Army is the front-runner in the field; however, with Mellow Fellow also entered, don’t expect a soft pace. Ol Army won an allowance race over the Kentucky Downs turf course last year, one of several with a race over the track.

Lonesome Street is another Ramsey horse, this one trained by Michael Maker. Lonesome Street’s last win came in April in the Grade 2 Commonwealth over the Polytrack at Keeneland. In his last four starts at a mile on the turf, Lonesome Street has a win and a second. Three of those starts came back in the summer of 2011.

A Diel has won three of his nine turf starts and three of six at the one-mile distance. He may find one or two better here; however, as he was behind Ol Army at Indiana Downs in May and behind Utley in April at Keeneland. Utley, on the other hand, looks like a must use and must wager if he is near his morning line of 6-1. The Augustin Stable-owned, Jonathan Sheppard-trained five-year-old has always been a prospect and work in progress, maybe now he is ready to shine.

He picked a great field to keep his two race win streak alive, even off the five month layoff.

Going as race eight on the 10-race card, post time for the Franklin-Simpson is 6:05 pm ET.


Kentucky Downs – Kentucky Turf Cup Grade 3 Horses Go 12

The second to last race on the day and the Saturday feature is the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup, a 12-furlong marathon race for three-year-olds and upward. The $400,000 race lacks a standout and is another spread race in the pick-3, pick-4 and pick-5. Who is the morning line favorite? Temeraine, a horse that has won twice in his last ten starts, both in allowance race.

Temeraine may have been put as the morning line favorite because he is coming out of the Grade 1 Arlington Million and was second in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap. A closer look; however, would reveal he was 61-1 in the Million and 29-1 in the Arlington Handicap. He is pace dependent as he has no early speed at all.

The two picks to “upset” the favorite are Suntracer and Najjaar, the two-three finishers in the American St. Leger at Arlington Park last month.

Najjaar is 7-2 in the Kentucky Turf Cup with Suntracer at 4-1, but Suntracer just beat Najjaar by three-quarters of a length and Suntracer looked the better horse. Also, Najjaar has not won since an allowance race on the dirt at Oaklawn Park in March 2012 and is winless in seven starts on the turf.

Suntracer; however, has six wins, six seconds and two thirds in 24 starts on the grass and is Grade 3 placed. He was second in this year’s Stars N Stripes and third in last year’s. Trainer Chris Block looks to have him cranked up for the 12-furlong run.

Showing the lack of depth in this Grade 3 race, Side Road is 9-2 on the morning line, even though he is lacking a stakes win. He was second in the Grade 3 Elkhorn at Churchill in April, but like Temeraine, he was a huge price and may have just been second by default. One positive for him is that he just finished second to Hyper, who came back to win the Grade 2 Bowling Green last weekend at Belmont.

An interesting long shot in the field at 15-1 is Whatthecatdrugin, who is lone speed in the marathon race. Whatthecatdrugin had a terrible trip last week in the Presque Isle Downs Mile and is looking to rebound off of that effort. Jockey John Court will send him straight to the lead and play catch me if you can.

Rounding out the field are Olympic Thunder, Grade 1 winner in Brazil, Amen Kitten, sixth in the Grade 1 Secretariat last out, Royal Bench, upset winner of a marathon race at Delaware Park, and Potomoac River, winner of three of his last four at Indiana Downs and Churchill Downs, complete the field.

Post time for the Grade 3 race is 6:35 pm ET.


Thoroughbred Racing Action

Great racing action from across the country this weekend. Watch these races all on

Saturday– September 14
  • Kentucky Downs:  Kentucky Turf Cup - G3, $400,000, 3yo & up, 12f turf
  • Kentucky Downs:  Franklin-Simpson Mile, $150,000, 3yo & up, 8f turf
  • Kentucky Downs:  Kentucky Downs Turf Dash, $150,000, 3yo & up, 6f turf
  • Kentucky Downs:  Juvenile Stakes, $150,000, 2yo, 7f turf
  • Kentucky Downs:  Juvenile Fillies Stakes, $150,000, 2yo f, 7f turf
  • Calder:  Brave Raj Stakes, $100,000, 2yo, 8f 7yo
  • Calder:  Foolish Pleasure Stakes, $100,000, 2yo f, 8f 70y
  • Calder:  Needles Stakes, $75,000, 3yo, 8.5f turf
  • Calder:  Judy's Red Shose Stakes, $75,000, 3yo f, 8.5f turf
  • Gulfstream Park:  Montbrook Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up, 8f
  • Churchill Downs:  Open Mind Stakes, $100,000, 3yo & up f&m, 6f
  • Parx:  PTHA President's Cup Stakes, $250,000, 3yo & up, 9f turf
  • Monmouth Park:  New Jersey Bred Stakes, 4 Races, $240,000 Total Purses
  • Delaware Park:  Delaware Certified Stakes, 6 Races, $450,000 Total Purses
  • Woodbine:  Summer Stakes - G2, $200,000, 2yo, 8f turf
  • Woodbine:  Natalma Stakes - G2, $200,000, 2yo f, 8f turf
Sunday – September 15
  • Woodbine:  Woodbine Mile - G1, $1-million, 3yo & up, 8f turf
  • Woodbine:  Canadian Stakes - G2, $300,000, 3yo & up, 9f turf
  • Woodbine:  Northern Dancer Turf Stakes - G1, $300,000, 3yo & up, 12f turf
  • Woodbine:  Ontario Derby, $150,000, 3yo, 9f
  • Barretts at Fairplex:  Barretts Juvenile Stakes, $100,000, 2yo, 6.5f