Thursday, September 9, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, Ky., Sept. 9, 2010 – Ten horses will try a mile-and-a-half over Turfway Park's Polytrack Saturday, hoping to turn the $100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship into a guaranteed shot at the $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon at Churchill Downs in November.
The Fall Championship (G3), first run at Northern Kentucky's original Latonia Race Course in 1919, runs for the third year as a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race for the Marathon, which attained Grade III status this year.
Trainer Graham Motion enters Irish turf and all-weather specialist Coolcullen Times, who made the first of his four U.S. starts in April. A 4-year-old gelded son of European champion Rock of Gibraltar, Coolcullen Times has yet to win since arriving here but hit the board twice, including a strong third-place finish after setting the pace in the 1-5/8 mile John's Call Stakes at Saratoga last month. Two starts back he was second on Presque Isle's all-weather surface, and he also has two wins on all-weather tracks in Ireland. Rodney Prescott rides.
Eldaafer was third three starts back, beaten just two lengths, after racing close to the pace in the G2 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park, also at 1-1/2 miles. He closed to win his last start, an optional allowance on the turf at Laurel Race Course. A 5-year-old gelding by A.P. Indy, Eldaafer has won on dirt as well, and he’s experienced at the distance. His question mark is Polytrack; he has missed the board in three starts on all-weather surfaces, including last year's Breeders' Cup Marathon at Santa Anita. Jon Court rides for trainer Diane Alvarado.
In his 23 career races, 5-year-old Sligovitz has been most consistent on all-weather tracks, with four wins, a second, and five thirds in 12 such starts; in fact, all of his wins have come on all-weather tracks. He hit the board in six of nine starts last year, including a third in the Kentucky Cup Classic (G2) at Turfway, but wins have been elusive. James Lopez rides for trainer Sean Smullen.
Also entered are Lignon's Hero (jockey Pablo Tolentino); Pick Six (Christopher Emigh); Atoned (Corey Lanerie); Smarten Destiny (Calvin Borel); Falling Knife (Rex Stokes III); Formulaforsuccess (Rafael Mojica Jr.); and Odds On (BRZ), a G3 winner in Brazil making his second U.S. start (John McKee).
The Fall Championship is the 12th of 16 races on Saturday's program, which includes six races commingled and simulcast from Kentucky Downs. Among the six from Kentucky Downs are the three stakes that make up the Kentucky Cup Turf Festival: the G3 Turf, the Ladies Turf, and the Turf Dash.
First post Saturday is 1:10pm ET. Admission and parking are free.