Thursday, September 11, 2003 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 11, 2003 . . . Perfect Drift and Congaree will line up side by side, breaking from gates 3 and 4, respectively, when the Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic goes off this Saturday, September 13, at Turfway Park. Five horses in all are entered in the race, the highlight of the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions. Crafty Shaw drew Gate 2 and M B Sea will start from Gate 5. Even the Score, last to join the field, has the rail. Post positions were drawn during a brunch for horsemen and members of the media at the track this morning.
Turfway Park handicapper Mike Battaglia put Congaree at the top of the morning line with odds of 4-5. “I look for Congaree and Baffert’s 2-year-old filly [Class Above] to be the major forces in the Breeders’ Cup to come out of this race,” Battaglia said. Edgar Prado will ride Congaree for trainer Bob Baffert.
Perfect Drift, right behind the favorite at 6-5, figures to gain some advantage from his rider, Pat Day, who knows the subtleties of the Turfway track. Trainer Murray Johnson concedes nothing to Congaree, noting that Perfect Drift moved up to beat Mineshaft by a head in the Grade I Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs in June even after a bumped start and wide trip.
Dale Romans, who stables at Turfway, will start M B Sea for owner Michael Bruder. Cornelio Velasquez has the mount. M B Sea starts off at 15-1. The Alphabet Soup colt finished second last month in the West Virginia Governor’s Handicap.
Five-year-old Crafty Shaw has been in this sort of company before, meeting Perfect Drift in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster. Trained by Peter Vestal, Crafty Shaw set the pace early in that race before dropping back to finish fourth, 10 lengths behind the winner. With Shane Sellers in the irons, Crafty Shaw goes off at 8-1.
Even the Score came just in time to the dance, having been entered late yesterday afternoon by trainer Dallas Stewart, who also stables at Turfway. The son of Unbridled has been a regular on the turf but notched his last win in an allowance condition race taken off the turf in favor of a sloppy track at Saratoga last month. Even the Score has Robby Albarado aboard and starts at 12-1.
The fields for the four other stakes races on the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions are deep and wide, drawing full or nearly full fields.
Battaglia puts Awesome Humor at 2-1 and Smok’n Frolic at 5-2 in the $175,000 Grade III Turfway Breeder’s Cup. So Much More, entered just this morning, is third on the morning line at 5-1.
Pomeroy merits top odds at 9-5 in the Grade III Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Prado has that mount for Patrick Biancone and will take Pomeroy from Gate 2. Ruler’s Court, with Pat Day up, is second favorite at 3-1 and comes from outside from Gate 9.
Local favorite Champali leads the way at 5-2 in the Grade III Sprint. Trained by Greg Foley, who has stalls at Turfway, the colt figures to put his Glitterman speed to good use in the short distance. His most recent win came in the one-mile Northern Dancer at Churchill Downs in June, a race where he started in second, moved to first, and stayed there. This year he has four wins in seven tries and has finished out of the money only once. Pat Day will ride. Coach Jimi Lee and Offlee Wild, the latter making his first start since May, both come into race day at 4-1.
The departure of Everyday Angel from the list of probable starters for the ungraded Juvenile Fillies churned the nominations list over the last couple of days. The filly, trained by Patrick Byrne, was considered the early favorite before coming down with a lung infection earlier this week. Baffert’s Class Above, with Edgar Prado up, got Battaglia’s best morning line at 9-5. Not far behind is D. Wayne Lukas with Renaissance Lady at 5-2. Pat Day rides Renaissance Lady.
Another late departure from the fillies list was Storm’s Darling, the speedster who blew off her competition to win by 11 lengths in her very first try, a maiden special weight at Ellis Park on August 27. Trainer Bobby Barnett confirmed that Storm’s Darling is being treated for stomach ulcers and will return to the track at the first opportunity available at Keeneland.
The Kentucky Cup Day of Champions is the highlight of Turfway Park’s fall meet. The 14-race card includes four races simulcast from Kentucky Downs. The five stakes races will be carried by Television Games Network (TVG); the signal will be picked up from 5 to 6 p.m. Eastern by Fox Sports Net for coverage of the Classic and Juvenile. First post on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. General admission and parking are free.