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Future Prospect leads over General Quarters down the stretch in the 2011 Kentucky Cup Classic
The Kentucky Cup Day of Champions is the signature event of the fall meeting at Turfway Park, featuring 5 races over the Polytrack which can potentially be used as prep races for the Breeders' Cup World Championships. Fans at the Florence, Kentucky oval enjoyed a cloudy day with temperatures in the mid 60's, for a relatively chilly Saturday afternoon card of racing.
The highlight race of the day was the $200,000 WinStar Kentucky Cup Stakes (G2), a 1 1/16 mile trip over the Polytrack for older horses. Baryshnikov was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the field of 8, off of consecutive 3rd place finishes in the Oceanport (G3) and Bernard Baruch (G2). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Workin for Hops, a close second in the Washington Park Handicap (G3) last out, and 9-2 third choice Shediak, off a win in the Windy Sands Handicap at Del Mar.
7-1 Strike Impact was sent to the lead first time past the stands by jockey Calvin Borel and he got an opening quarter in 24.47 before 18-1 Future Prospect poked his head in front through a half in 47.97. Strike Impact tired on the turn while Future Prospect continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:11.82. 10-1 General Quarters rallied from 4th to challenge for the lead by Future Prospect held him off by 3/4 length in 1:44.71. It was a long 6 lengths back to 17-1 Demarcation, while favorite Baryshnikov checked in fifth.
Results Chart from DRF
Left: Future Prospect in the winner's circle with owner/trainer Dodson Skaggs at his hip. Skaggs said, "He's run at seven different tracks and he's run well at all of them. He doesn't have to take his track or his jockey with him. He's going good right now and that's the time to step up and take a chance. I don't know what we'll do next. We'll see how the horse comes back. I might look at (the Breeders' Cup); he's Breeders' Cup nominated, but I'm not sure if we'll take a shot or not."
Right: The trophy presentation for the Kentucky Cup. His jockey Edgar Prado said, "He was ready to go. He was warming up beautifully. Around the backside he was pretty much in command. I just had to wait as long as I could, but when I turned him loose, he responded. My horse was really trying in the stretch. I was very excited about that."
Left: Second place finisher General Quarters in the post parade. His owner-trainer Tom McCarthy said, "I think he loves the cooler weather, and if the race was just a little longer, he would have gotten there. That other horse was tiring. Had it been another 1/16 mile, we would have won it. I don't know what's going to be next. That was a very good race. It showed me he wants to go on. I think he beat a lot of nice horses today."
Right: Third place finisher Demarcation in the post parade. His jockey Jesus Castanon said, "We had a good trip. The first quarter kind of killed me, it was a little slow but he gave me a good race late." Trainer Paul McGee added, "I thought we ran really good. I was a little concerned with the slow pace up front but we were a little closer than usual with him. We'll probably find something at Keeneland next time out."
The distaff division was represented in the $100,000 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff Stakes (G3), with a field of 7 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the Polytrack. Upperline was the even-money favorite over 4-1 La Gran Bailadora and 5-1 Ailalea. 30-1 longest shot High Quality was quickest away and got the first quarter in 24.48 before 6-1 Persuading took over on the backstretch through 1/2 in 48.43 and 3/4 in 1:12.73, with 10-1 Bella Medaglia stalking her in second. Entering the lane, bella Medaglia passed the tiring pacesetter, opening up a 1 1/2 length lead in mid-stretch, but La Bran Bailadora, last for the first 3/4 mile, circled the field on the far turn and closed late to win by a length in 1:44.90. It was a long 8 lengths back to 7-1 Kiss Mine third. Favorite Upperline finished last.
Results Chart from DRF
Left: The trophy presentation in the winner's circle. Her jockey Corey Lanerie said, "You always go in confidence when you ride for Mike. Just proud to be part of the team. I was last early, just kind of got her out on the turn and she was best today. Once we got to the 3/8 pole, I knew I had them. When I got to the filly on the lead I was a little concerned because she put up a fight, but my horse got by her and pulled away. I think the kickback pushed her back a little, but I think the track is playing fair."
Right: La Gran Bailadora in the paddock before the race. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "I just think Polytrack is her best surface. She hasn't really cared for the turf. I tried her on the dirt and she didn't care for it. I'll try to keep her Polytrack racing. We'll give her a freshener with (the Spinster at Keeneland) in mind."
A field of 11 older horses went to post in the $100,000 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) at 6 furlongs. Cal Nation was the 2-1 favorite over 4-1 Will's Wildcat and 5-1 Philippe. 33-1 Song of Humor battled for the lead with Will's Wildcat and Philippe down the backstretch through a quarter in 21.96 and a half in 45.13. Entering the stretch, Song of Humor tired as 9-1 Matthewsburg, 4th early, moved up and took over the lead through 5/8 in 57.47. He drew off late to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Philippe in 1:10.28. It was just a head back to Will's Wildcat third, while favorite Cal Nation was sixth.
Results Chart from DRF
Left: Jockey Victor Lebron celebrates aboard Matthewsburg. He said, "I had a perfect trip. I rode this horse in his maiden and at Penn National, where he ran second, so I know him pretty well. He drew off and won pretty easy. He tries to get out a little bit so I let him do what he wants and not take too much of a hold."
Right: Matthewsburg in the post parade. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "I'm glad to see him duplicate a performance. I thought his race at Penn National was sneaky good. He got beat a ways, but that horse that beat him (Poseidon's Warrior) is a very good horse. I don't know what's next for him. I wasn't looking past today."
The $100,000 Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, has produced two Breeders' Cup Juvenile winners in the past. This year, Hansen was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of 8 over 8-1 Future and 9-1 Space Traveler. Jockey Victor Lebron sent Hansen to the lead immediately, and the favorite was allowed an uncontested lead of as many as 6 lengths down the backstretch through fractions of 23.83, 46.91, and 1:11.48. Entering the stretch, he continued to extend his lead, finishing under wraps 13 1/4 lengths in front of 15-1 Fine in 1:45.83. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 32-1 Downtown Driggs third.
Results Chart from DRF
Left: The trophy presentation in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mike Maker said, "It's nice when you get a young horse and he delivers. I'm very excited. We were thinking Breeders' Cup before they ran this race today. I ran him here instead of at Keeneland because I worried that if we didn't get in at Keeneland, we might be in a little trouble. I'm not going to run him back at Keeneland now. I think this race today will get us in to the Breeders' Cup. We'll point to the dirt, not the turf."
Right: Hansen in the post parade. Jockey Victor Lebron said, "He's one of the best horses I've ever ridden. The way he ran last time, he took to the front and relaxed. He actually ran off, I couldn't pull him up until the 5/8th pole. That told me he could go long, all day if you let him. Hopefully he's my (Kentucky) Derby horse. They came up to me a little early, I got him to relax and he cleared off again. He's a push button horse. I could put him anywhere if I wanted to."
Kicking off the stakes action on Kentucky Cup Day was the $100,000 Tiznow Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies for 2-year-old fillies at 1 mile. Rainbow Blossom was sent off as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 9 over 5-2 Rusticana and 3-1 Charming Vixen. 7-1 Best of Times battled for the lead with Charming Vixen through fractions of 24.12, 48.30, and 1:14.10 while being staslked by 61-1 Queen Anna third. Best of Times tired into the stretch allowing Charming Vixen to open a 2 length lead through 7/8 in 1:27.31. 17-1 Heated Debate rallied from 7th but Charming Vixen cruised under the line 3 1/2 lengths clear in 1:40.77. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to 11-1 Spring Eclipse third, while favorite Rainbow Blossom was last.
Results Chart from Equibase
Left: The trophy presentation in the winner's circle with Bill Casner of WinStar Farm, Calvin Borel, and trainer Tom Amoss's wife. Winning trainer Tom Amoss, who was acting as an analyst on TVG said, "I've never had to work so hard to be quiet during a race. Calvin Borel has a great pair of hands, and I thought it took him a full quarter of a mile to get her to relax. From there, it was just a question of whether she would get the distance. This is awesome."
Right: Charming Vixen in the post parade. Jockey Calvin Borel said, "Tom was pretty high on her. He called me this morning and told me just to get her to relax, which she did. She overcame being caught a little wide. I just sat chilly on her and she took off turning for home. She was very impressive."
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