Arklow had endured tough times since winning the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) at Belmont Park last October, recording four unplaced finishes during a five-race losing streak, but turned things around nicely with a 1 1/4-length victory in Saturday’s $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
Florent Geroux was up on the 6-year-old for Brad Cox, who added blinkers to his pupil following a well-beaten fourth as the favorite in the July 18 United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park, and Arklow notched his second victory in the 1 1/2-mile test while relishing the extremely yielding conditions. Winner of the 2018 Kentucky Turf Cup and second last year, the son of Arch stopped the teletimer in 2:28.66.
Arklow, who is campaigned by Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway, left the starting gate as the 5.80-1 third choice. The bay horse stalked the pace up close in fourth as Eons, Postulation, and Changi sparred for the early advantage, and Arklow cut over to the inside while making his move to the lead entering the stretch.
He held a short advantage as Red Knight rallied into contention from midpack, and 4-5 favorite Zulu Alpha closed on the far outside to make it a three-way contest with about a furlong remaining, but any suspense was short-lived as Arklow reasserted control by surging clear in the latter stages.
Up by a length with a sixteenth of a mile remaining, Arklow won comfortably under the wire. Red Knight took second at 9-2 odds, a length better than Grade 1 winner Zulu Alpha, who was making a title defense and had captured 3-of-4 starts this year. Eons was another 5 1/2 lengths back in fourth, and next came Postulation, Hierarchy, He’s No Lemon, Bundibunan, Grand Journey, and Changi.
Bred in Kentucky by John and Frank Penn, Arklow was purchased for $160,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale. He’s out of the Empire Maker mare Unbridled Empire, making him a half-brother to Grade 2 scorer Maraud, and Unbridled Empire is a half-sister to Grade 1 winners Fourty Niners Son and Cindy’s Hero.
Arklow, who notched his first stakes win in the 2017 American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs, earned his fifth overall stakes tally and has now earned $2,466,116 from a 29-7-7-2 record.