Thursday, September 25, 2003 12:00 AM
Defending champ Crafty Shaw returns
FLORENCE, KY . . . SEPTEMBER 25, 2003 . . . Crafty Shaw stayed in the game to finish third behind Perfect Drift and Congaree in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) here two Saturdays ago, and logic says he should be the one to beat this Saturday when eight horses line up for the 54th running of the $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship (G3). The 5-year-old hasn’t won since February, but he’s been running in air more rarefied than he’ll face here, including a fourth-place finish in the Grade I Stephen Foster behind Perfect Drift, Mineshaft, and Aldebaran. Crafty Shaw broke his maiden at Turfway and has won three stakes here since, including last year’s Fall Championship.
But whether you believe in “should” or not, this one looks like fun.
Part of the fun is that increasingly rare treat in graded stakes company, a sturdy veteran. The Fall Championship brings Sea of Tranquility back to Turfway for his 63rd start. The 7-year-old has traveled all over ungraded stakes country and won a couple of Grade 3s, back-to-back Salvator Mile handicaps at Monmouth in 2001 and 2002. He doesn’t always win—he was 8th in the Salvator just two months ago—but he’s batting .322 lifetime, with 12 stakes victories among his 20 wins. He’s been on the board just under 63 percent of the time. And he shows up. Only twice in six years has he been sidelined for longer than a month or two.
Four-year-old Cappuchino has taken a liking to early speed, finishing first and third in his last two outings, both ungraded stakes. Back in May he turned 79-1 odds into third place in the Churchill Downs Handicap (G2), finishing a neck behind Pass Rush and 2¾ lengths back of Aldebaran. Cat Tracker, 5, has spent a lot of time with good allowance company and in 12 starts has four wins, five seconds, and no thirds. Ask the Lord gave up allowance competition for stakes in January and has finished no worse than fourth in his six starts since then.
Lining up also are Dayton Flyer, unraced since January; Bold Truth; and Trion Georgia, who fought Private Horde, last week’s Marfa Stakes winner, to a dead heat in May.
One early probable and strong contender who won’t enter after all is Patrick Byrnes’s Pass Rush, who unfortunately has joined the list of horses on hold due to illness.
The Turfway Park fall meet continues through October 2. First post is 7:00 p.m. on weekdays and 1:10 p.m. on weekends.