It’s hard to call any date of the Kentucky Downs race meeting the highlight since all 5 days feature competitive racing, but from a top-class standpoint it’s difficult to argue against the Kentucky Cup quartet on Saturday, September 9, as being the top racing at the 50-day stand that concludes Thursday, September 14.
The Kentucky Cup makes up an all-stakes Pick 4 on Saturday that begins with race 7 at 5:18 p.m. ET and concludes with race 10. Three of the four races are graded with the Big Kahuna being the nightcap $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup at a 1 ½ miles on Kentucky Downs’ European-style undulating course.
It’s a fantastic sequence with some logical “more likely” winners on which to lean while also offering punters a chance to gamble on horses who aren’t necessarily likely winner but offer enticing odds with a chance to win.
Below we’ll go through each race and help to identify potential upsetters.
Race 7, Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (Grade 3), 1 mile
Multiple Grade 1 winner Miss Temple City is an obvious favorite here, and a return to the form that won both the Makers Mark and Shadwell Turf Miles (both against males) would win this race a majority of the time, but she hasn’t run close to par this year. Sure, she probably needed a race off a 6 ½ month layoff then another one returning from Royal Ascot after said layoff, but she has not approached her numbers at all this year. At even money (or less) that’s enough reason to go against.
#2 Linda intrigues most having received a freshening since a couple of duds that concluded a 3 ½-month stretch in which she ran 4 times. She has run well off similar layoffs before, has a win at the track, and as long as there’s some pace with Miss Temple City should have something to close into.
Race 8, Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs
One of our best bets of the day is in this race, as we’re going to use #3 Corby on all our tickets and play her across the board as well. Corby is one of only four in the race cutting back from two turns, and her ability to be forwardly placed with some stamina should help with this tricky 6 ½-furlong distance. Trainer Brendan Walsh has great stats on the cutback and is having a fantastic year in general while jockey Joe Rocco Jr. does well at Kentucky Downs.
Race 9, Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes, 6 ½ furlongs
This had the look of one of the more formful races until the scratch of Tell All You Know cast serious doubts on the shape of the race. Two things can now happen: A) They’ll be more bunched up and the best horse/trip will win, or B) either #2 Indy Hill or #3 Black Bear jet away early and steal race on the front end. I’ve upgraded Black Bear because of this. We saw Court win his first race this century at Kentucky Downs on Thursday on a $90 firster he sent to the front. Black Bear making turf debut and his dirt numbers aren’t out of line here.
#10 Hogy certainly fits, especially with Florent Geroux riding, but #6 Wyethis a must use going dirt to turf for trainer Tom Amoss.
Race 10, Calumet Farm Kentucky Downs Turf Cup Stakes, 1 ½ miles
#1 Postulation and #11 Taghleeb are both in the “A” column, but I hope like hell to also be live to #10 St. Louie and #12 Nessy, both of whom are the only entrants to top 100 on their last-out Brisnet.com Speed Rating. To boot, both get great connections for the oval w/ trainer Mike Maker legging up Tyler Gaffalione on St. Louie and the aforementioned Wilkes tabbing Brian Hernandez for Nessy.