Kentucky Downs Takes Entries, Draws Post Positions For Sept. 11 Graded Stakes Card

The fields are set for the summer’s biggest day of turf racing, as entries were taken and post positions drawn Saturday for the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs’ blockbuster Sept. 11 card featuring five graded stakes at the Franklin, Ky., track.

The Super Saturday is the marquee attraction among six huge days of racing Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sept. 11 and 12. First post is 12:20 p.m. Central. All the races will be shown on TVG.

Purses for next Saturday’s 11 races total $4,692,000, of which $2.2 million comes from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for registered Kentucky-bred horses. That’s the vast majority of the horses running, but even the base purse that everyone competes for reflects some of the richest pots in the country.

“The card is amazing,” said Kentucky Downs Vice President for Racing Ted Nicholson. “Hats off to our racing office.”

The headliners are the $1 million Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles and the $1 million Grade 3 FanDuel Turf Sprint at six furlongs. Both are “Win and You’re In” stops on the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series and will be televised live by NBC. The Turf Cup winner will get a fees-paid berth in the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and the FanDuel winner the same in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., on Nov. 6.

Donegal Racing’s Arklow, the 2020 and 2018 Calumet Turf Cup winner, renews his rivalry with Michael Hui’s 2019 victor Zulu Alpha, who was sidelined after last year’s stakes and is 0 for 2 this year. Arklow would be the first three-time winner of the race. But they’ll have to beat another Grade 1 winner in Channel Cat, returning to Kentucky Downs for the first time since he captured the 2018 Dueling Grounds Derby. He’s owned by stakes sponsor Calumet Farm.

Arklow won Churchill Downs’ Louisville Stakes and most recently was seventh in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap, but beaten only 1 3/4 lengths for everything.

Mike Maker, a five-time meet-leader and Kentucky Downs’ record-holder in career wins, has five of the 12 horses in the body of the Calumet Turf Cup, headed by Zulu Alpha. The others are Tide of the Sea, a Kentucky Downs winner last year and Gulfstream’s Grade 3 McKnight this year; Ellis Park’s Kentucky Downs TVG Preview winner Bluegrass Parkway; Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup third-place finisher Ajourneytofreedom, and Glynn County, third in Arlington Park’s Grade 1 Mr. D, the race formerly known as the Arlington Million. A sixth Maker entrant, Dynadrive, needs three scratches to get in the field.

Also in the field: Breakpoint, a triple Grade 1 winner in his native Chile, goes for his first U.S. win in three starts; Irish Group 3 winner Crossfirehurricane; Grade 1 United Nations runner-up Imperador and United Nations third Epic Bromance. Big Dreaming, second in last year’s Dueling Grounds Derby, needs a defection to get in.

The FanDuel Turf Sprint brings back last year’s top three finishers in Imprimis and the dead-heat runners-up Bombard and Front Run the Fed, who finished a neck behind the winner. But the favorite is likely to be boys-beater Got Stormy, winner of last year’s Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint over very soft turf in her first attempt at sprinting. Got Stormy is the only filly or mare to win Saratoga’s Grade 1 Fourstardave, having done so in her last start and in 2019 after taking second last year. She has been second in three other Grade 1 starts against males, including in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

“We’ve never backed down from a challenge,” says Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse, who acknowledges his desire to pad Got Stormy’s own Hall of Fame credentials.

Other challengers: Casa Creed, winner of Belmont’s Grade 1 Jackpocket Jaipur at the six-furlong distance; multiple graded stakes-winner Diamond Oops; the blossoming Fast Boat, a past winner over the course who last out won Saratoga’s Grade 3 Troy Stakes, and Born Great, who last year won a Kentucky Downs maiden and allowance race in the span of a week.

The Richard Baltas-trained Venetian Harbor ships in from California for the $600,000 The Mint Ladies Sprint. The 4-year-old filly has been worse than second only once in 10 starts. In two turf races, she was second in her debut and won Santa Anita’s Grade 2 Monrovia.

Also in from the West Coast is the multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Superstition for Hall of Famer Richard Mandella. John Sadler sends out Santa Anita stakes-winner Constantia in the overflow field of 14.

The beer will be flowing in Henderson if Yes It’s Ginger prevails. There were so many people connected to Henderson beer distributor Mike “Hotdog” Utley, as well as the Brilliant Racing and Tagg Team Racing partnerships, that the winner’s circle presentation had to move to the main track after “Ginger” prevailed in the Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Ladies Sprint, which gave her a free roll in this 6 1/2-furlong race.

The Casse-trained Jeanie B lost a Grade 2 stakes at Woodbine by a nose in her last start for owner CJ Thoroughbreds, whose managing partner Corey Johnsen was president and part-owner of Kentucky Downs before its sale to Ron Winchell and Marc Falcone.

Violenza enters the race off victory in a $100,000 turf sprint at Colonial Downs in her stakes debut for trainer Ian Wilkes and his son-in-law jockey Chris Landeros. The Maker-trained Jakarta has been off form but won a starter-allowance race here last year.

The $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Mile is headlined by 5-for-6 Princess Grace, winner of three straight stakes capped by Del Mar’s Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon. The Mike Stidham-trained Princess Grace shares the 126-pound high-weight with 2020 One Dreamer winner Dalika.

She’sonthewarpath, an eight-time winner out of 19 starts, is in peak form off of two stakes victories at Ellis Park. Florida trainer Saffie Joseph has the horse to catch in Shifty She, a two-time stakes-winner at Gulfstream and a good third in Saratoga’s De La Rose won by 2020 Ladies Mile winner Regal Glory.

Summer in Saratoga, an allowance winner here last year for trainer Joe Sharp, won Indiana Grand’s Indiana General Assembly Distaff in her last start.

With The Lir Jet, Qatar Racing will try to win the $600,000 Franklin-Simpson for the third straight year, and the first time with the stakes a Grade 2. Qatar Racing won last year’s stakes with Guildsman, who like The Lir Jet is trained by Brendan Walsh, and in 2019 with the Doug O’Neill-trained Legends of War. The Lir Jet won Royal Ascot’s Group 2 Norfolk as a 2-year-old but is winless since. He makes his debut both in the United States and as a gelding.

Sharing high weight status of 124 pounds with The Lir Jet is the Eddie Kenneally-trained Point Me By, winner of Arlington Park’s Grade 1 Bruce D. Stakes (formerly the Secretariat).

The field of twelve 3-year-old stakes-winners, with three others on the also-eligible list, includes the filly Miss Amulet, a Group 2 winner in England and a close second in a Group 1. Other contenders in a talented field: Woodbine’s Grade 3 Marine winner Easy Time; the Wesley Ward duo of Churchill Downs’ War Chant winner Next and Ellis Park’s Dade Park Dash victor Into the Sunrise, and American Derby winner Tango Tango Tango. Other stakes-winners are Bodenheimer, King of Miami, Omaha City, and County Final. Last year’s Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint runner-up Fauci, also trained by Ward, needs a scratch to get in the field.

The post Kentucky Downs Takes Entries, Draws Post Positions For Sept. 11 Graded Stakes Card appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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