Saturday, September 30, 2006 12:00 AM
Florence, KY . . . September 30, 2006 . . . Ball Four took the lead in the opening strides of the Grade II $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park Saturday and kept it all the way to the wire, surviving a late charge from Perfect Drift and a jockey's objection to win by half a length. It was the second straight appearance in the Classic for Ball Four, who finished second last year to Shaniko at odds of 45-1.
Post time favorite Premium Tap made a quick move up the rail at the second turn in an attempt to catch Ball Four on the inside but clipped heels with the leader and stumbled. Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, Premium Tap recovered and gamely came on again, but could not continue the comeback and finished fifth. Desormeaux lodged a jockey's objection regarding the incident but the claim of foul was not allowed by the stewards.
The win was the second of three stakes victories on the day for veteran rider Willie Martinez, who also won the Turfway Breeders' Cup and the Juvenile Fillies.
"Obviously the plan was to put him on the lead. I was able to control the pace, and once I got him comfortable, I knew he would be very tough to beat," said Martinez, who holds a record nine Turfway riding titles.
Trainer Patrick Biancone decided to enter Ball Four at the last minute. "He worked extremely well this week and we knew he loved Polytrack," Biancone said. "There were only six horses entered so we decided to take a shot and see if we could win."
Good Reward moved to the outside to avoid Premium Tap and closed well to finish third, three-quarters of a length behind Perfect Drift. It was a neck back to Alumni Hall, a nose to Premium Tap, and another nose to the trailer, Greeley's Galaxy.
Perfect Drift, who was trying to add the 2006 Classic to his win in this race in 2003, may still be headed for his record fifth Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs November 4. "We're all going to sit down and talk things over," said Perfect Drift's breeder and owner, William Reed of Stonecrest Farm, who has raced Perfect Drift throughout his $4.6 milion career.
Off at 12.90-1, Ball Four set a moderate pace and finished the 1 1/8-mile Classic in a track record 1:48.29. The five-year-old Grand Slam gelding is owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. His career record is now 5-1-3 in 16 starts.
The complete order of finish in the Classic: Ball Four, Perfect Drift, Good Reward, Alumni Hall, Premium Tap, and Greeley's Galaxy.
Beautiful Bets first of three winners for Martinez
Casa De Caballos’ Beautiful Bets made a strong rally from the middle of the pack to win the Grade III $175,000 Turfway Breeders’ Cup, covering the 1 1/16 mile course in a track record 1:42.79.
Sent off at odds of 15-1, Beautiful Bets caught front-running Slew Peg in midstretch and then held off the rally of La Reason, who finished a neck back in second. Slew Peg, who started from the outside post in the field of ten fillies and mares, finished third.
"I’ve ridden her before and she is a different horse now," said winning rider Willie Martinez. "She is much more mature and settled."
Trained by Glen Wismer, Beautiful Bets ran third in a Grade III Seaway Stakes in her last start at Woodbine Race Course, which also has a Polytrack surface. The six-year-old daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Alphabet Soup won for the seventh time in 44 starts and has now earned over $400,000 in her career.
Splendid Blended, the 7-5 race favorite, made a three wide bid for the lead turning into the stretch and finished fourth.
The complete order of finish in the Turfway Breeders' Cup: Beautiful Bets, La Reason, Slew Peg, Splendid Blended, Sister Star, Prospective Saint, Victoire Bataille, Darluna, Pentelicus Dance (ECU), and Tappin for Gold.
Reigning Court best in Sprint
Making his first appearance against stakes company, Reigning Court took the lead after a half-mile and never looked back in the Grade III $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint.
Owned by Brenda and Phillip Robertson, Reigning Court and jockey Corey Lanerie won the six furlong Kentucky Cup Sprint by a half-length over Island Warrior, who finished three lengths in front of third-place finisher Hallowed Flag. Reigning Court covered six furlongs in a quick 1:09.13. The 3-year-old son of Glitterman is trained by Scott Blasi and has now won three of 10 starts.
"He’s a horse with an enormous amount of talent," said Blasi. "We purchased him privately on behalf of the owners. He was his own worst enemy this winter in Florida. He had a lot of problems shipping from Palm Meadows to Gulfstream. He really turned the corner in Chicago."
Likely, the 2-1 favorite, was shuffled back at the start and was caught in traffic around the turn. Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Likely could manage only a sixth-place finish.
The complete order of finish in the Sprint: Reigning Court, Island Warrior, Hallowed Flag, Four Sevens, Right Place N Time, Likely, Curtain Bluff, Ghosttrapper, Cognac Kisses, Changing Weather, Lucky Savanah, and Chief What It Is.
Reinstedler goes one-two in Juvenile
Trainer Anthony Reinstedler saddled the first and second place finishers in the Grade III $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile, with U D Ghetto besting stablemate Shermanesque by 1 1/4 lengths. Son of the West was another length back in third.
Jockey Mike Smith kept U D Ghetto close throughout and then came outside entering the stretch to take the lead from the front-running Izzie's Halo.
"This horse is a handful all the time," said Reinstedler. "At any given moment he's liable to rear up or flip over—but he can run. The Breeders' Cup will be [owner] Michael Mackin's decision, but he's from Louisville so I have a feeling we'll be going."
Off at 17.80-1, U D Ghetto finished the 1 1/16 mile Juvenile in 1:43.86.
The complete order of finish in the Juvenile: U D Ghetto, Shermanesque, Son of the West, Izzie's Halo, Indian Camp, Nerve, Native Ruler, Beta Capo, Kon Krete Kid, Hey Bill, Out of the Skip, and Shore.
Cohiba Miss wires Juvenile Fillies
Willie Martinez won his third stakes races of the day on a longshot when he stormed away from the field on Cohiba Miss in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.
Cohiba Miss, a 12-1 shot in the field of 10, wasted no time from the rail position and shot straight to the lead. Martinez and Cohiba Miss carried a comfortable lead into the stretch on their way to a 3 1/4 length win.
Whatdreamsrmadeof, the 2-1 favorite, rallied from off the pace to finish second. Expertise made a wide run to finish another length back in third.
Trained by Bernie Flint for owner Mike Rutherford, Cohiba Miss, a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Cat Thief, claimed her first career stakes win and now has three wins in eight starts. The final time for the mile distance was 1:36.68.
Said Flint, "If you look at the numbers with [Cohiba Miss], her race two back she has the highest Beyer number in the field, and that was on the grass, and turf horses like the Polytrack. The reason I put her on the front end is that she loves to run hooked. She just likes competition."
The complete order of finish in the Juvenile Fillies: Cohiba Miss, Whatdreamsrmadeof, Expertise, Frisk Her (DQ-5), Cozys Promise (placed 4th), Lucky Approval, Natalicat, Cherokee Sheik, Tough Apples, and Kauai Calls.
Racing resumes Sunday at Turfway at 1:10 p.m. The track is dark for live racing Monday and Tuesday and then races again Wednesday and Thursday, the last day of the Fall Meet.