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PREVIOUS JEFF RUBY STEAKS WINNERS FACE OFF IN KENTUCKY CUP CLASSIC

Friday, March 13, 2020 3:33 PM
  • Spiral Stakes

JEFF RUBY STEAKS WINNERS SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN, BLENDED CITIZEN BATTLE IN KENTUCKY CUP CLASSIC

FLORENCE, Ky. (March 13, 2020) – The $150,000 TwinSpires Kentucky Cup Classic on the Jeff Ruby Steaks undercard promises to be one of the most competitive races Saturday, headed by the last two winners of the Jeff Ruby Steaks: Skychai Racing and Sand Dollar Stable’s Somelikeithotbrown and Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall and Brooke Hubbard’s Blended Citizen.

Run at 1 1/8 miles, the Kentucky Cup Classic is carded as Race 9 with a post time of 5:17 p.m. A full field of 12 older horses entered the main body of race with two on the also-eligible list.

Listed as morning line oddsmaker Mike Battaglia’s 2-1 favorite, Somelikeithotbrown seeks his fourth career victory at Turfway. In addition to last year’s Jeff Ruby Steaks, Somelikeithotbrown won last year’s Battaglia Memorial. Injured after the Blue Grass Stakes, in January he returned from a nine-month layoff at Gulfstream Park but finished a non-plussed 11th. Three weeks ago, in his second start off the layoff, he won an allowance contest at Turfway as a prep for Saturday’s event. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. has the call and will break from post 10.

Breaking two gates outside of Somelikeithotbrown is 5-2 second choice Blended Citizen, seeking for his second victory at Turfway. The 5-year-old son of Proud Citizen was transferred to trainer Brad Cox’s care in October and immediately reeled off a half-length score in a 1 1/16-mile allowance contest on the dirt at Churchill Downs. Cox’s go-to rider Florent Geroux has the call in the Kentucky Cup Classic.

Other top contenders include last year’s winner, Nun the Less. Owned by Crystal Racing Enterprises and Contreras Racing, the nine-time winner won Turfway’s Forego Stakes in January. A versatile veteran, he followed his win in last year’s Kentucky Cup Classic with two Grade 3 placings, finishing second in the Ben Ali at Keeneland and third in the Hanshin Cup at Arlington.

“He’s doing good right now,” trainer Cipriano Contreras said. “About the same as when he ran (and won) in the Kentucky Cup last year. It’s a tough race, though. He loves Turfway but he runs well on the dirt or turf as well. I’m expecting a big race from him. He’s a tough, old horse that runs solid every time.”

The top two finishers in Turfway’s 1 1/8-mile Prairie Bayou Stakes in December also line up for the Kentucky Cup Classic: the winner, Peekacho, trained by Brian Michael, and Royal Mesa, trained by Phil Sims.

Four others in the field—Flying Scotsman, Dragon Bay, Signalman, making his first start since June, and last year’s Kentucky Cup Classic runner-up, Lanier—also have graded stakes wins on their resumes as well, though not all recently.

The field for the Kentucky Cup Classic:

Post

Horse

Trainer

Rider

Morning Line

     1

Dragon Bay

Stuart Simon

Chris Landeros

50-1

     2

Flying Scotsman

Jack Sisterson

Rafael Bejarano

20-1

     3

Nun the Less

Cipriano Contreras

Rodney Prescott

9-2

     4

Moon Over Montana

Kim Hammond

Alex Achard

20-1

     5

Peekacho

Brian Michael

John McKee

20-1

     6

Space Mountain

Michael Maker

Gerardo Corrales

15-1

     7

Thirsty Betrayal

Patrick Huffman

Luan Machado

50-1

     8

Royal Mesa

Phil Sims

Malcom Franklin

15-1

     9

Signalman

Kenny McPeek

Corey Lanerie

5-1

    10

Somelikeithotbrown

Mike Maker

Irad Ortiz Jr.

2-1

    11

Lanier

Bret Santangelo

Inoel Beato

15-1

    12

Blended Citizen

Brad Cox

Florent Geroux

5-2

AE 13

Lo’s Journey

Cheryl Shifflett

Sonny Leon

30-1

AE 14

Apreciado

Michael Maker

Kendrick Carmouche

6-1

FOLEY RETURNS TO SOMPING GROUNDS WITH BANGO IN ANIMAL KINGDOM

Veteran trainer Greg Foley will return to his ‘stomping grounds’ Saturday and reunite with his former go-to jockey Rafael Bejarano when he saddles Bango in the $75,000 Mayers Electric Company Animal Kingdom Stakes.

Foley, a three-time training champ at Turfway, has not started a horse in a stakes event at Turfway since 2011 but is no stranger to winning the Animal Kingdom. Foley won back-to-back editions of the race in 2003 and 2004 with Champali and Silver Minister, respectively.

“Turfway has always been a special place for us,” Foley said. “It was my go-to spot in the winter and we’ve had a lot of success there. It’s good to be able to send a horse back home to compete on a big day like Saturday.”

Bango, owned by Tamaroak Partners, broke his maiden by 3 1/2 lengths and was placed first via disqualification in a first-level allowance event at Churchill Downs. Foley nominated Bango to the Triple Crown and attempted to stretch the 3-year-old son of Congrats to two turns in the 1 1/16-mile Lecomte (G3) but he finished a tiring ninth.

“I think his best races will be around one turn but we wanted to try him against some of the top 3-year-olds down here to see how he stacked up,” Foley said. “This race Saturday should be a very good race for him because of the cut back in distance to 6 1/2 furlongs.”

Bejarano, a 17-time stakes winner at Turfway, will break Bango from post 9.

The Animal Kingdom will kick off the 20-cent Single 6 Jackpot sequence in Race 6 with a post time of 3:42 p.m.

The first of 12 races on Saturday’s card runs at 1:10 p.m. ET. The Jeff Ruby Steaks goes off at 6:42 p.m.

Entries for all 12 of Saturday’s races are posted on Equibase.

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