July 16, 2024

Zulu Alpha, Arklow return for Kentucky Turf Cup; Imprimis, Fauci highlight undercard stakes

Zulu Alpha wins the 2019 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs (c) Coady Photography/Kentucky Downs

Zulu Alpha will make a title defense in Saturday’s $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs. After posting a 3 1/4-length decision last year, the 7-year-old gelding went on to capture three graded stakes this season under the direction of Mike Maker. He earned his first Grade 1 win in the Pegasus Turf World Cup, and Zulu Alpha exits late-running tally in the July 12 Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland. Tyler Gaffalione rides.

Grade 1 winner Arklow seeks to end a five-race losing streak. The 6-year-old showed an affinity for the European-style turf course when taking the 2018 edition of the 1 1/2-mile race, and Arklow will try to make amends for his runner-up finish as the 8-5 favorite last year. Florent Geroux has the call for Brad Cox.

A field of 16, including four also-eligible runners, was entered, and Elkhorn runner-up Postulation is eligible to improve in the second start off the layoff for Michael Matz. Hierarchy exits a fast-closing second to Factor This in the Aug. 2 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup at Ellis Park. Graham Motion will send out last-out Saratoga allowance scorer He’s No Lemon and multiple stakes winner Standard Deviation.  Multiple stakes victor Red Knight returns off a layoff for Bill Mott.

The $700,000 Turf Sprint (G3) and $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint are also among five lucrative stakes on the dynamite 11-race program.

Grade 2 winner Imprimis, who was controversially disqualified from a 2 1/4-length romp in the Aug. 8 Troy (G3) at Saratoga, will take some beating in the 6-furlong Turf Sprint. Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over the reins from his brother Jose, and the 6-year-old gelding will make his second start this year for Joe Orseno.

The 16-horse cast includes four also-eligibles, and Totally Boss will try to go back-to-back after posting a comfortable victory last year. The Rusty Arnold-trained gelding exits a rallying head second in the July 11 Shakertown (G2) at Keeneland, and Geroux will guide the stalker. Bound for Nowhere, who finished a neck third in the Shakertown’s three-horse win photo, merits respect for Wesley Ward. The classy 6-year-old stretched out to win the 2018 Tourist Mile S. at Kentucky Downs, and Bound for Nowhere will show speed with Julio Garcia.

Fauci was no match for the extremely promising Golden Pal, finishing a clear second in the Aug. 21 Skidmore S. at Saratoga, but he’s a candidate to make amends in the 6 1/2-furlong Juvenile Turf Sprint. A sharp maiden victor sprinting on Keeneland’s turf two back, the Malibu Moon colt keeps Gaffalione in the saddle, and Fauci leads a strong one-two punch for Ward, who also has convincing Saratoga debut winner Outadore among the 10 entrants. Irad Ortiz retains the mount on Outadore, a gray son of Outwork.