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Turfway winners among leading Breeders' Cup contenders

Wednesday, October 22, 2003 12:00 AM
  • General
Florence, KY . . . October 22, 2003 . . . Winners of recent Turfway Park stakes races are among the standouts entered in the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships this Saturday at Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California. The Breeders’ Cup draws the best Thoroughbreds from around the world to compete in eight races worth a total of $14 million. This year marks the event’s 20th anniversary.

Numbered with the best is Perfect Drift, winner of the Grade II Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park on September 13. With never a whip to be seen, jockey Pat Day hand-rode Perfect Drift right past the heavily favored Congaree to take the winner’s share of $350,000 that day. The two will face off again in the $4 million centerpiece of the World Thoroughbred Championships, the Breeders’ Cup Classic-Powered by Dodge, a mile-and-a-quarter over dirt. With Day committed to ride rival Ten Most Wanted, Gary Stevens, star of Seabiscuit, will ride ‘Drift.

Perfect Drift followed his Kentucky Cup victory with a win two weeks later in the $750,000 Hawthorne Gold Cup (G2) and is a perfect four-for-four over dirt this year. The gelding will lead all comers for Horse of the Year Eclipse Award honors if he wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Owned by Dr. William Reed of Stonecrest Farm in Kentucky and trained by Australian-born Murray Johnson, Perfect Drift also won the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes at Turfway Park as a three-year-old in 2002

In the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, look for Class Above, the two-year-old who blew away the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies field by 16 lengths. Undefeated in her only two starts, she turned in a “blazing” workout in preparation for Saturday, according to Daily Racing Form reports, ripping off half a mile in 45.4 seconds. Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Padua Stables, Class Above is expected to go off as the second favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies behind Halfbridled. The race covers one and one-sixteenth miles on the dirt. David Flores, aboard for her maiden victory in August, has the mount.

Also running in the Juvenile Fillies is Renaissance Lady, second to Class Above on Kentucky Cup day.

Kentucky Cup Sprint winner Cajun Beat will line up in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, a fast and furious six-furlong dirt dash for $1.5 million. A three-year-old owned by Padua Stables and trained by Steve Margolis, Cajun Beat had the Kentucky Cup lead at four furlongs and refused to let it go, winning by three-quarters of a length. He will face another Turfway winner, Private Horde, who won the $75,000 Marfa Stakes here on September 20. Private Horde turned in the bullet, or fastest, half-mile work of the day last Thursday and is expected to arrive at Santa Anita tomorrow. He is trained by Joe Cain and owned by Billy Tucker. Cornelio Velasquez will ride Cajun Beat. Jason Lumpkins, who took Turfway’s Winter/Spring Meet riding title this year, has Private Horde.

With a decade of proof now on the books, the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions has solidified its place as a top prep series of races pointing toward the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships and year-end prizes. Among Turfway runners to hit that level are Reraise, 1998 champion sprinter; Boston Harbor, 1996 champion juvenile; Spain, winner of the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and all-time leading female by earnings; Point Given, 2000 Kentucky Cup victor and 2001 Horse of the Year; and Vindication, 2002 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner and champion two-year-old.

Advance wagering on the Breeders’ Cup is available at Turfway Park on Friday, October 24, with gates opening at 11:15 a.m. On Saturday, Turfway’s gates open at 9:30 a.m. for simulcasting from the track’s state-of-the-art Race Book. First post from Santa Anita is 12:40 p.m. All times Eastern.

General admission and parking at Turfway are free. Reserved seats are available by calling 859-647-4710.

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