Thursday, September 24, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 24, 2009 . . . With fields set, works in the books, and shipping plans underway, horses have now but to wait the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions Saturday at Turfway Park.
Kentucky Cup Classic (G2)
Woodbine shipper Sligovitz brings all-weather success to the Classic, having won four of eight starts on the surface and placing in the other four. "This will be a stiff spot for him," said trainer Roger Attfield, "but he's been training very well and he's been intended for this race." Attfield also noted the advantage of having Turfway's hot rider Leandro Gonçalves aboard.
Trainer Tom Drury hopes that Timeless Fashion's success over the Turfway track plays in his favor Saturday. The 5-year-old gelding broke his maiden at Turfway and won his first stakes at the track as well, taking the one-mile Dust Commander in February. He has three wins in six starts on Polytrack, all at Turfway, five wins total, and has never been out of the money in nine lifetime starts. The Classic will be his first graded-stakes attempt.
"Certainly with horses like Hold Me Back, Dubious Miss, and Wicked Style it's not going to be a gimme," Drury said. "But he likes the Polytrack and has always gotten over it well, so we thought if we're going to swing for the fences, this is the place to do it. He certainly deserves the chance to compete at this level, and maybe things will go our way. We're hoping for a little bit of a home-field advantage."
Noting running styles in the field, Drury said, "He doesn't have to be on the lead but he can be. If the doors open and nobody wants it, we can take it. If somebody does go, we can be right on their hip. There's speed in the race but I don't think any of them have to be on the lead. I think most of [the trainers] will tell the jockeys the same thing: 'Let the doors open and see who does what.'"
Timeless Fashion comes in off a layoff, having last raced in and won the Independence Day Stakes at Mountaineer in July. He will ship to Turfway on race day.
Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3)
Guam Typhoon is the 3-1 morning line favorite in a well-matched edition of the Sprint despite having neither trained nor raced on an all-weather surface. "I’m pleased with the horse," said trainer Ian Wilkes. "He's doing well and this is a good spot for him. I'll leave the running up to [jockey] Calvin [Borel]."
The 3-year-old Distorted Humor colt reeled off three wins at Churchill Downs last spring before shipping to Saratoga in August to finish third in the restricted Curlin Stakes and second in the Pleasant Colony, his most recent race. Wilkes does not expect the colt to proceed to the Breeders' Cup, saying, "He's not seasoned enough."
El Brujo has four wins, four seconds, and a third from 11 career starts, all over Woodbine's Polytrack. Trained by Malcolm Pierce and twice a restricted stakes winner, the Candy Ride gelding is second on the Sprint morning line at 4-1 and will break from the rail. "We would have preferred another post position," said Pierce, "but he likes the Polytrack and I think he has more experience over the surface than anybody else in the field. He tries hard every time—always gives 110 percent."
El Brujo gains an advantage in jockey Garrett Gomez as well, noted Pierce, who said, "He puts a horse in position to win every time."
El Brujo will ship from Woodbine Thursday evening and arrive at Turfway on Friday.
The Kentucky Cup Distaff (G3), 1 1/16-miles for fillies and mares three years old and up, completes the stakes competition on Saturday's card, which includes 10 races live from Turfway and 6 commingled by simulcast from Kentucky Downs.
General admission is free on Kentucky Cup Day. Reserved seating is available from $5 to $100, with the top venue the VIP Paddock Pavilion between the paddock and the rail. First post is 1:10pm.
Also on Saturday, Turfway joins the Kentucky Thoroughbred Association in presenting the track's 5th annual College Scholarship Day. Ten students will win scholarships of $1,000 each, awarded by random drawing. Students must be enrolled full-time for the 2009 fall semester, present a current college ID, and be present to win. Registration begins at noon. Further details and official rules are available at www.turfway.com.