Walsh’s Born Great Best In Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Turf Sprint At Ellis

Born Great probably needed to win the $100,000 Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Turf Sprint at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky., to get a shot at the big money offered at his favorite track, Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky. The 5-year-old gelding did his part, finishing fastest under Adam Beschizza to defeat Siem Riep by 1 1/4 lengths while covering 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:00.48. That was just off Totally Boss’ 2019 track record of 1:00.26 in the same race.

Trained by Brendan Walsh, Born Great won a maiden and allowance race in a one-week span at Kentucky Downs last year. So obviously the plan was to win this race to get an automatic fees-paid spot in the $1 million FanDuel Turf Sprint on Sept. 11 at that track. The winner of the Grade 3 FanDuel Turf Sprint, which will be televised live by NBC, in turn gets a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar.

Because graded-stakes winners and then stakes winners are preferred if the Kentucky Downs stakes gets more than 12 entries, getting the automatic qualifier was critical.

“Obviously it’s a big deal for him to win,” said assistant trainer Paul Madden, who runs Walsh’s Ellis Park division. “But most importantly for him to qualify for Kentucky Downs, which is huge, a place where he was 2 for 2 last year.

“But he’s a really neat horse. He always gives 100 percent. He had a little time off after the Fair Grounds and was second at Churchill not that long ago, but just lacked a little sharpness. Brendan was here on Wednesday and was thrilled with him and knew he was sitting on a big race. So we weren’t surprised how he ran to be honest.”

Beschizza had Born Great settled into eighth in the field of 10 older sprinters as High Crime set a torrid pace. Though in mid-stretch it looked like almost any horse could win, Born Great surged through the stretch, blowing to the lead in the final sixteenth-mile. He paid $7.20 as the favorite.

“Most of the horses I’ve been riding early on in the day have all been speed close to the lead types of horses,” Beschizza said. “As fast as the turf is playing, it’s not really paying off. Horses are coming from behind and reaping the reward from the fast pace up front. Kentucky Downs really suits him. Ideally, I think his best trip is probably three-quarters (of a mile). At 5 1/2, if he’s got a decent pace in front of him, he usually can reel them back in within reason. He did it pretty comfortably in the end.”

Born Great, a son of the deceased Scat Daddy, now is 4-2-1 in nine starts, earning $2442,025 for owners Marc Detampel and Fergus Galvin.

“It’s perfect that his beloved Kentucky Downs is just around the corner, and obviously he’s going to get the course and distance there,” Beschizza said of the six-furlong $1 million FanDuel Turf Sprint. “Thanks to Marc Detampel, Brendan and Paul here for having him in good shape coming into this race, and I don’t think he’s done yet this summer.”

The Terry Brennan-trained Siem Riep, making only his second start since he was second by a neck in the 2019 Preview Turf Mile, rallied from last. It marked his third time to be second in a Preview race, also finishing second in 2018 in the Preview Turf Mile. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Gray Attempt, making his turf debut.

“We got a little bit shuffled back on the turn, but when you don’t have that sprinter speed early, it’s kind of tough to hold your position,” said James Graham, who rode Siem Riep in his three Ellis Park runners-up finishes. “But he made a good account for him today. He’s a cool little horse, and he tries. I ran after Born Great. He got to save ground around the turn. He took my spot going into the turn, so I had to go around. But I can’t say anything. My horse was looking for a little bit more ground anyway. But he finished the right way.”

The post Walsh’s Born Great Best In Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Turf Sprint At Ellis appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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