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Kentucky Cup fields take shape

Monday, September 22, 2008 12:00 AM
  • Kentucky Cup
FLORENCE, KY . . . September 22, 2008 . . . Fields are taking shape for the 15th renewal of the Kentucky Cup Day of Champions at Turfway Park Saturday, September 27. Five stakes that serve as preps for the Breeders' Cup, the Kentucky Cup series includes the Grade II $350,000 Classic; the Distaff, Sprint, and Juvenile, each Grade III with a $100,000 purse; and the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies, a listed stake.

Six are probable for the 1 1/8-mile Classic, and several others remain on the fence. Those likely to enter are Bullsbay (trainer Graham Motion), Extreme Supreme (John Ward Jr.), Honest Man (Larry Jones), Stream Cat (George "Rusty" Arnold), Yate’s Black Cat (Dale Romans), and Zanjero (Steve Asmussen).

Jones, who won the Classic last year with Hard Spun, said Honest Man has been progressing steadily in his training over the Tapeta surface at Fair Hill and "acts like a synthetic horse." Honest Man has four wins and a third from six starts this year, including a win last out in the Philip Iselin Handicap (G3) last month at Monmouth. "If he runs like Hard Spun did last year, we'll definitely aim for the Breeders’ Cup with him," Jones said.

Honest Man will ship in to Turfway on Tuesday, along with Jones trainees Maren's Meadow, expected for the Distaff, and Beyond Ready, expected for the Sprint. Jones will take all three to the track Thursday morning, saying, "We'll see how they made the trip and do whatever they tell me they want to do."

Stream Cat won the Kentucky Cup Juvenile in 2005 and returned last year to finish third in the Classic behind Hard Spun and Street Sense. He won the Arlington Handicap (G3) two starts back and was sixth, beaten just 4 1/2 lengths, last out in the Arlington Million (G1).

Trained by Patrick Biancone before those starts, Stream Cat came to Arnold in May from co-owner Fabien Ouaki's Fab Oak Farm, where he had been turned out since October 2007. "He's doing great," said Arnold. "He likes the Polytrack and has run well at Turfway, so we're expecting a big race from him."

Stream Cat will ship to Turfway on raceday with stablemate Devil House, expected for the Distaff.

Bullsbay has been under the care of Graham Motion for only a couple of weeks. "He had been with Eric Kruljack in California, but the owners (Mitchell Ranch LLC, Frank Lewkowitz, and Joe Rice) felt there were more options where we could run him in the East."

Bullsbay has made seven starts, all on California's all-weather tracks, and has two wins and three seconds. Last out he was fourth in the Pirate’s Bounty Handicap at Del Mar. "They ran him short last time just to get a race in him. He needs the distance. He definitely likes the surface," said Motion. "Now we want to find out if he's competitive against those kind of horses [graded stakes]."

Bullsbay worked Saturday at Fair Hill, breezing six furlongs in 1:14.60, third of nine at the distance. He will arrive at Turfway on Thursday with stablemate Drop a Line, who is expected for the Distaff, and both will go to the track on Friday.

In addition to Maren's Meadow, Devil House, and Drop a Line, probables for the Distaff include Bear Now (trainer Reade Baker), Fancy Fusaichi (Bill Mott), Left Correct (Jeff Talley), Tazarine (D. Wayne Lukas), and Unforgotten (Dallas Stewart).

Maren's Meadow won the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks on Turfway’s Polytrack in March. "We want to be sure her win on the synthetic wasn't a fluky deal. If she runs well again we’ll know where to put her this winter," said trainer Larry Jones.

After the Bourbonette, Maren's Meadow ran seventh in the Black Eyed Susan on a sealed muddy track at Pimlico. "We just totally throw out that race," said Jones. "That was one race where we know what happened would happen; she blew a shoe coming out of the gate and cut up her pasterns—it was not a good deal that day."

Since then she has a win in the Monmouth Oaks (G3) between fourth-place finishes in the Delaware Oaks (G2) and Go For Wand.

Drop a Line will come into the Distaff off a nose win in the Windward Stakes on the all-weather surface at Presque Isle Downs. "She likes the surface," said trainer Graham Motion, "and this is a good opportunity to get a graded win with her."

Drop a Line worked Friday at Fair Hill, breezing five furlongs in 1:02.60, fourth of eight at the distance.

With Devil House already a stakes winner, owner Glencrest Farm is looking for her to step up to graded company in the Distaff. "We're wanting to get her graded stakes-placed to add to her value as a broodmare. If she won, that would be icing on the cake," said trainer Rusty Arnold.

Devil House was purchased out of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale in 2007. After she breezed well at Keeneland last fall and into December, the decision was made to keep her in training and she was sent to Bruce Levine at Monmouth. Levine and Arnold have worked closely with the owner for 20 to 25 years and often ship horses back and forth depending on where they fit best. "Instead of moving the horse and all the help from one place to another, we just move the horse," explained Arnold, who has had the filly at Keeneland since last week. "She was doing great at Monmouth, and if she wins we'll send all the congratulations to Bruce."

Devil House worked four furlongs in :48 flat last week at Monmouth before shipping to Keeneland to train on Polytrack. She will ship to Turfway on Saturday.

Probables for the Juvenile as of Monday include Gresham (trainer James Baker), Just Like Biscuit (Adrienne Moore), Proud Jefe (Tom Amoss), Retap (Steve Asmussen), Tar Beach (Ken McPeek), and West Side Bernie (Kelly Breen).

Probables for the Sprint as of Monday are Beyond Ready (Larry Jones), Eaton's Gift (Dale Romans), Fatal Bullet (Reade Baker), Gentleman James (Myra Mora), Golden Spikes (Martin Wolfson), Hatta Fort (Saeed bin Suroor), Nautical Storm (D. Wayne Lukas), No Advantage (Doug O’Neill), Papa (Dallas Stewart), Salute the Sarge (Eric Guillot), Silver Sword (Shannon Ritter), and That’s Grand (Ray Tracy Jr.).

Probables for the Juvenile Fillies as of Monday are Believe in Me (Timothy Hamm), Bold Union (Kelly Breen), Complicity (Mike Maker), Dream Empress (Ken McPeek), Juliet's Spirit (Steve Asmussen), Magalicious (Dale Romans), Saxxy Rose Lee (Joe Cain), and Westline (David Vance).

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