Tuesday, September 25, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 25, 2007 . . . The pieces of the Kentucky Cup puzzle continue to fall into place as Turfway Park prepares for the highlight of its fall meet this Saturday.
Lukas could add to Kentucky Cup record
Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won 14 Kentucky Cup races since the series was created in 1994. Counting one additional win in the Turfway Breeders' Cup, now the Kentucky Cup Distaff (G3), in 1989, his total includes four wins in the Distaff and two in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. He will look to add one to each event when he sends Warrior Girl to the Distaff and Carnival City to the Juvenile Fillies. Both are stabled at Churchill Downs and will ship to Turfway on Saturday.
Warrior Girl ran a close third in April behind the fine stakes mare Asi Siempre in the Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes over Keeneland's Polytrack. She won her only other start on Polytrack, so the surface may be in her corner on raceday.
"We're hoping that's part of it," said Lukas. "She ran a very good race at Saratoga two back (finishing second in the Waya Stakes August 10), and she seems to have an affinity for the surface."
Carnival City tired to sixth in her debut, a turf sprint at Saratoga July 30, but rebounded to score a wire-to-wire win at the Spa on August 26.
"She beat a pretty good bunch of horses that day," said Lukas. "She ran a very gutsy race. Coming off that effort, I think she can step up and run well on Saturday."
Also slated for the Distaff is Patrick Biancone-trainee Danzon, a four-year-old filly who has made all 13 of her career starts on grass. She was fifth in the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on July 28, her last outing.
"Danzon has worked extremely well over Polytrack in the mornings here (Keeneland)," said Biancone. "She likes a certain amount of cut in the ground when she runs on turf, and she has not been able to find that very often this year, so this looks like a good spot to bring her back. She needs to step up her game a little to be competitive on Breeders' Cup Day, so we will go a little bit at a time and take it from there."
Correction: Monday's notes indicated that India had earned two stakes wins. She earned two stakes wins in 2007; she has four total stakes wins including the Grade II Cotillion last year.
Probable for the Distaff are Angel Flying, Danzon, Delicate Dynamite, I'm in Love, India, Kettleoneup, Maggie Slew, Mama I’m Home, Ms. Lydonia, Pleasant Hill, Sweetdownthelane, Tuffted, and Warrior Girl.
Probable for the Juvenile Fillies are Carnival City, De Star Xpress, Dreabons Legacy, Glor, I'm Daddy's Girl, Kadira or Minewander, Latest Scoop, Mimi Eppi, Palanka City, Pure Clan, Sky Mom, Sumwhrovrtherainbw, The High Queen, and Yesshesarocket.
Stream Cat, Cat Shaker taking on the Classic
Street Sense and Hard Spun may be scaring some trainers away, but not Biancone and Craig Callis.
Biancone will send Stream Cat to the 1 1/8-mile Classic (G2). In his most recent race, Stream Cat was beaten just a length behind Jambalaya in the Arlington Million. In 2005 he won the first Kentucky Cup Juvenile run on Polytrack.
"Certainly it would be ideal if those two horses were not running, but we have to do what we have to do," said Biancone. "Stream Cat is a very nice horse and ran very well in the Arlington Million. Everyone knows he loves the Polytrack at Turfway. It's a very big race on Saturday, so we have to take a shot."
Biancone won the Kentucky Cup Classic last year when he "took a shot" with Ball Four as the field shaped up with five other runners.
Stream Cat breezed Tuesday at Keeneland, clocking four furlongs in :48 flat, sixth of 10 at the distance.
Cat Shaker will try the Classic for trainer Craig Callis. "He has really taken to this track," said Callis. "He’s really enjoying himself. I brought my rider (Jesus Garcia) from Lexington to breeze him and he said he felt great after the work. I'm hoping for the best on Saturday. Obviously if Hard Spun gets out there and away with an easy lead, that's not good. But my horse has been showing a bit more speed lately. He's usually overlooked. He was 38-1 when he won the (2005) Rushaway Stakes. If I thought he'd embarrass me, I wouldn't be running him. I think the distance is perfect. He's fit and ready to go."
The five-year-old horse breezed three furlongs in :36 flat September 19, the best of five at the distance. Charlie Woods will be aboard Cat Shaker for the Classic.
Probable for the Classic to date are Street Sense, Hard Spun, Stream Cat, and Cat Shaker.
Pauillac, Piratesonthelake to Sprint
Biancone will add Pauillac to his Kentucky Cup arsenal, targeting the Sprint (G3). The colt exits a difficult ninth-place finish behind Hard Spun in the Grade I King's Bishop at Saratoga a month ago.
"I can't say he ran a great race last time out," said Biancone. "There weren’t many excuses, but he was stuck inside during a pretty hot pace. Hopefully he will find the field on Saturday a bit easier."
Piratesonthelake also is slated for the Sprint for trainer Jim DiVito. The three-year-old gelding has hit the board in 10 of 11 lifetime starts including five wins. One of those wins was his most recent race, a wire-to-wire dead heat score last month in the Arlington Sprint Handicap on Polytrack.
"He's doing good," said DiVito. "He dead-heated with a good horse (In Summation) at Arlington. He went right back to the racetrack and we started thinking about this race. He doesn't need Polytrack. He's good and sound and can handle all different tracks."
Sprint probables are Base Commander, Elite Squadron, Fate Takes a Hand, Mallabar, Morada Key, My Private Lake, Norjac, Pauillac, Piratesonthelake, Sir Five Star, Stormin Baghdad, and Trophy Road.
Juvenile draws West Coast Coach
DiVito has chosen the Kentucky Cup Juvenile (G3) for West Coast Coach. "The question for him is the distance," said DiVito. "He's won two sprints and in his last he was impressive, laying second or third and running down a horse that wasn’t stopping. There's only three weeks between races so there's not a whole lot we can do to get him ready for the distance, but we put a good five-eighths into him. It’s a matter of how he handles it."
Juvenile Probables are Blackberry Road, Chitoz, Citizen John, Delaware Manor, Horse Doctor, Poni Colada, Pulaski Runner, Ruler Man, Saada or Tend, Shekinah, T. J.'s Posse, and West Coast Coach.