Tuesday, September 26, 2006 12:00 AM
Good Reward joins Kentucky Cup Classic field
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 26, 2006 . . . The Kentucky Cup Classic field grew to six likely starters, while the other four stakes on the card are nearing capacity.
$350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (G2)
Trainer Claude "Shug" McGaughey confirmed Tuesday morning that Good Reward, a graded stakes winner on turf, would join the field for Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (G2). He is expected at Turfway on Thursday.
Good Reward followed his strong second to Lava Man in the Aug. 20 Pacific Classic with a fourth to Wanderin Boy in the Brooklyn Breeders' Cup on Sept. 16. McGaughey was not concerned about the relatively quick turnaround time for Good Reward heading in to the Classic.
"It's a non-issue in my opinion," said McGaughey. "He came back from the Brooklyn well, and he worked good yesterday morning," going a half-mile in :48.43, eighth fastest of 50 at the distance on the day.
Good Reward has three career stakes wins on turf, including the 2004 Hollywood Derby and the 2005 Manhattan Handicap, both Grade I, but this will be his first start on Polytrack. "I have no idea whether he'll handle the surface," said the Hall of Fame trainer. "They tell me that grass horses handle the Polytrack pretty well. We'll just go down there and give it a try."
$175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (G3)
Trainer Hal Wiggins will send Sister Star to the Turfway Breeders' Cup, 1 1/16 miles for older fillies and mares. "She ran a couple of flat races at Ellis Park, but her last race at Turfway was good. I thought she was going to win and Neil Howard's mare [Soul Search] ran us down. But it was a good effort. She handled the Polytrack well, and she came out of that race in good order. Of course the competition was easier than what we'll be facing.
"This race will probably be her last. She's entered in the November sale at Keeneland. But if she runs big, the owners may change their minds."
Brice Blanc will ride and was aboard for Sister Star's latest work, 4 furlongs in :48.20 at Churchill Downs on Sunday, fourth fastest of 14 at the distance.
Victoire Bataille also will make the Turfway Breeders' Cup her last career stop. "She's about ready to be retired," said trainer Robert Holthus. "She's run well in a lot of races and because of that, there's no condition at Keeneland, so we opted for this spot and see what happens."
Holthus has had five Kentucky Cup Day winners: Beau Dare in the 2005 Juvenile Fillies; Level Playingfield and Greater Good in the 2004 Sprint and Juvenile, respectively; and in the Turfway Breeders' Cup, Playing 'N Gold in 2001 and Ruby's Surprise in 1999. "It's been good to me," Holthus said. "I've had multiple winners. It's always nice to win those kind of races."
Victoire Bataille and Hallowed Flag, Holthus's entry in the Sprint, are expected at Turfway on Thursday. John McKee has the mount on both.
Prospective Saint will enter the Turfway Breeders' Cup in search of her second straight graded stakes win, trainer Martin Wolfson confirmed Tuesday. Her most recent trip to Kentucky netted her the Gardenia Handicap (G3) at Ellis Park in August.
"She's worked well since her last race and seems to have come out of it really well," said Wolfson from his South Florida base. "It should be cooler than the 93 degrees she's been dealing with down here."
Wolfson is most excited about running Prospective Saint in a true two-turn race, different from her race at Ellis Park because of the unusual dogleg at the start of such races there. Projected as a sprinter when she raced for owner John D. Stuart and trainer Pat Byrne, she broke her maiden at six furlongs at Turfway in 2003 and went on to such races as the Test Stakes (G1). After an injury, she was sold to her current connections, who added distance to her repertoire.
"She's very big, and she can get half-mile times in 44 and change," said Wolfson, who mentioned her second-place finish in the six-furlong Princess Rooney (G1). "We always felt she could get some blacktype like that, but it meant going against some fast sprinters. But she can relax around two turns and she hasn't had that chance in her last few starts. It doesn't look like she's going that fast when she's running. It makes her really tough in a race like this, especially if she gets that chance to relax."
In her last true two-turn race, Prospective Saint dominated the Shocker T. Handicap at Calder, winning by more than four lengths while gearing down late in the race.
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3)
Holthus has also confirmed Hallowed Flag for the Sprint. "He's doing great. His last work went fine and he came out of it good. He's a hard tryer. He closed good ground in his last race, and he's looking good coming into this race. He raced [at Turfway] once, so he has experience over that surface."
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3)
Indian Camp breezed a half-mile in :46.80 for trainer Patrick Biancone Tuesday, posting the third fastest of 17 such works and earning his ticket to the Kentucky Cup Juvenile.
Indian Camp broke his maiden Sept. 16 at Belmont, besting fellow New York-breds by six lengths in his third start. For the Juvenile, he will stretch out 1 1/16 miles, but the distance does not faze Biancone.
"Two-year-olds, most of the time, don’t have that much stamina to begin with," he said. "We are very happy with him. He is in good form and he worked very well. He has gotten better with each race."
Indian Camp joins Likely [Sprint] and Slew Peg [Turfway Breeders' Cup] as Kentucky Cup starters from the Biancone stable.
Izzie's Halo has run second in all three lifetime starts including the Cradle Stakes, each time losing to a stakes performer. He will look to depart the maiden ranks Saturday in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Miguel Mena has been named to ride. With training closed at Churchill on Thursday and Friday due to the Rolling Stones concert, Izzie's Halo will ship in on Thursday.
"We think he's a good horse at two turns," said trainer Tom Amoss. "In the Kentucky Cup, he'll face horses that have very good talent but who are unproven at a longer, two-turn distance."
TVG will be at Turfway to broadcast the track's entire Saturday card. In addition, the Kentucky Cup Classic will be part of ESPN's National Pick 4 coverage from 4 to 6 p.m. First post Saturday at Turfway is 1:10 p.m. Eastern. Gates open at 10 a.m.