Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:00 AM
Splendid Blended joins Turfway Breeders' Cup
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 28, 2006 . . . Grade I winner Splendid Blended flew under the radar during the "who's going, who's not" phase of Kentucky Cup preparations, but she was front and center on oddsmaker Mike Battaglia's morning line at 8-5.
$175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (G3)
Splendid Blended's two Grade I victories—the Hollywood Starlet and the Vanity Handicap—both came around two turns when she trained under Neil Drysdale, and current trainer Bill Mott sees a similar opportunity for her in the Turfway Breeders' Cup.
"We thought it was worth a try," said Mott, who has otherwise entered her only in sprints this year. "It will be an interesting test for her. She'll be going back to two turns and doing it on Polytrack. All this may be a little bit of a stretch for her."
Although he is keeping his options open, trainer Neil Howard entered Soul Search in the Turfway Breeders' Cup off a 3 1/2 length win over Polytrack and a third in the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga two starts back. Calvin Borel has been named to ride Soul Search as well as Alumni Hall in the Classic.
"She's all prepped and ready to go, so we're going to enter and take a look," Howard said. "The Spinster is under consideration primarily because of the mile and an eighth, but it's going to be tough—it always is. We're not ruling out anything."
$350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (G2)
While Gouldings Green was unexpectedly not entered in the Classic off his win in the Turfway Park Fall Championship (G3), the third place finisher from that race has come on board. Howard has entered graded stakes winner Alumni Hall, although as with Soul Search he will keep his options open.
"Even with Gouldings Green not running, it's still a salty race, with the Woodward winner [Premium Tap] in there and Good Reward and Perfect Drift, who you never discount. We're going to enter him and wait and see," said Howard. "[In the Fall Championship], he had been off for a while and was a bit eager."
Regarding the decision not to enter Gouldings Green, trainer Tony Reinstedler said, "The race came up a little more competitive than we anticipated, so we're going to opt for another spot. Physically he's fine. We just wanted to go in another direction."
Trainer Al Stall reports that Classic starter Greeley's Galaxy is doing well. "He's had two sprints off a layoff," Stall said. "Those short races really put him on his toes. I think he'll be forwardly placed and fairly aggressive stretching out to a mile and an eighth, which is the distance he went to win the Illinois Derby last year."
Rafael Bejarano will ride Greeley's Galaxy, who is coming off a ninth place finish in the Grade I Forego at Saratoga and, before that, a sprint allowance victory at Churchill Downs. Although Greeley's Galaxy has not run on Polytrack, he is expected to train over the surface on Friday. "No track has bothered him yet, so the Polytrack doesn't really worry me," Howard said.
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3)
Trainer Scott Blasi, who took over the stable of Steve Asmussen while the latter serves a six-month ban for medication positives, will start two in the Sprint, Reigning Court and Right Place N Time. Both are coming off victories, leaving Blasi eager to test his two-year-olds.
"Anytime you step a horse up into a stakes for the first time it's going to be a test," Blasi said. "I'm anxious to run them. This is the time of year when they sort themselves out and it looks like we've got some talented horses with a lot of options in their future.
"I've always felt Reigning Court had a lot of talent, but he's been his own worst enemy at the starting gate. The starter at Arlington did a great job working with him this summer and got him to turn the corner. He's showing that talent now and I think his last two races have been really impressive."
Right Place N Time, who recently ran fifth at Turfway after a 10-month layoff, is the only one of Blasi's five Kentucky Cup starters not coming in off a win. "He was coming off a long layoff, and the Polytrack can be tiring," said Blasi about his last race. "He's training well over it since and he deserves another chance."
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3)
Beta Capo and Nerve both enter the Juvenile from the Blasi barn. Beta Capo improved with each race before breaking his maiden in a one-turn mile at Arlington Park in his third career start.
"Beta Capo is the type of horse that wants more ground and is a later developing type," Blasi said. "As he got the chance to stretch out he started to wake up a bit, and he should appreciate going two turns."
Nerve, with two Arlington sprints to his credit including a win last out, also tries two turns for the first time Saturday.
Ken McPeek will saddle Hey Bill in the Juvenile. "He's doing really good and is very solid," said McPeek. "He's acting like a professional, although we will add blinkers because he still needs a little more focus. This is a good two-turn colt with good experience to build on. He has room to improve but this is his chance to do that."
McPeek has named Larry Melancon to ride Hey Bill and, in the Juvenile Fillies, Fast Actress.
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies
Blasi has another live two-year-old in Kauai Calls, entered for the Juvenile Fillies. The filly has won her two starts to date, both at Saratoga, and despite inheriting the genes of her famously high strung sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, she has been training like a pro over Turfway's Polytrack since Saratoga closed.
"She's tactical and rated very nicely her first time out. It looks like she's versatile," said Blasi. "I saw some of the antics of her sire but so far she's been well mannered and given us no problems."
Fast Actress, the second Kentucky Cup entry from the McPeek stable, comes to the Juvenile Fillies off a maiden win on the turf at Ellis Park. "She's really coming into this race well," said McPeek. "Going on the Polytrack won't be that big a deal for her. How they take to the surface depends on the horse. I've seen horses have different experiences since they've tightened up the track this year. We'll just have to wait to see how she reacts."
First post at Turfway Park on Saturday is 1:10 p.m., with the Kentucky Cup series carded as races 6 through 10 on the 12-race card. General admission and parking are free. Some reserved seating remains. Gates open at 10 a.m.