After the remnants of Hurricane Harvey hit the Bluegrass State last weekend and forced the postponement of opening day at Kentucky Downs, the all-turf track in Franklin, on the border with Tennessee, will get their five-day meet started Wednesday afternoon.
With massive purses enhanced by proceeds from historical racing, favorable takeout rates across the board, and capacity fields, Kentucky Downs has become extremely popular with horseplayers around the country in recent years. The average daily handle over five days in 2016 was $4.5 million, which cracked the Top 10 among all U.S. Thoroughbred tracks.
The card drawn for last Saturday will go as is on Wednesday, with older milers and two-year-olds featured in the day’s major stakes. The $400,000 Tourist Mile for three-year-olds and up will mark the return to action of multiple Grade 1-placed stakes winner Shining Copper, last seen taking the $100,000 Lure at Saratoga in August 2016.
That seven-year-old tends to show early foot, as does former Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Hootenanny and Western Reserve, who narrowly missed in Grade 3 company at Fair Grounds over the winter but beat a graded stakes-quality field in the $100,000 Warrior Veterans on the Indiana Derby undercard.
Flatlined, who won a restricted stakes at Kentucky Downs last season, upset the Ft. Lauderdale (G2) in January and recently got back in the winner’s circle following a three-month break in the $50,000 Cliff Guilliams H. at Ellis Park for trainer Scooter Dickey. Another major contender is Irish Strait, who captured the Red Bank (G3) two back and has placed in the Tampa Bay (G3) and Monmouth (G2) also this term.
The $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile and $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, both over seven furlongs and with overflow fields that include four also-eligibles in each, figure to be fascinating betting affairs.
Snappy Sinclair, a four-length maiden winner on the turf at Saratoga, and Northern Trail, who won grass at Ellis Park before finishing second to Dak Attack at 81-1 in the $75,000 Ellis Park Juvenile on dirt, may be among the betting favorites.
The Juvenile Fillies market could be headed by the Wesley Ward-trained maiden Ultima D, a daughter of Scat Daddy, and the Mark Casse-conditioned Moonlight Rain, who won on debut at Woodbine on the turf in late July.
An overflow field is also present in the $150,000 One Dreamer, for fillies and mares that have not won a stakes in 2017, over one mile and 70 yards. Grade 3 veteran Zipessa, the recent pacesetter in the Beverly D (G1), and Grade 3 scorer My Impression, beaten just five lengths in the Diana (G1), are the marquee names in the lineup.
Takeout rates for Kentucky Downs are 16% on Win, Place, and Show; 18.5% on Exactas; 19% on Trifectas, and just 14% on the Pick 5.
Racing is also scheduled at Kentucky Downs for September 7, 9, 10 and 14, with a first post daily of 1:25 p.m. (CDT).
Read more on how to bet Kentucky Downs with Brisnet.com using this handy guide from Ed DeRosa, who will be on site for TwinSpires.com at Wednesday’s opener. You can follow his coverage at @EJDX2 and @TwinSpires.