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Sep 23, 2005

AMERICAN TURF CLUB LEAD

By: JOE GIRARDI


On Saturday September 17th Turfway Park hosted their version of a Breeders’ Cup Preview day called Kentucky Cup Day. Two races for Juveniles, one for fillies and one for colts and geldings, a race for horses that may be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, a Distaff race and a sprint race. Obviously there is no turf racing at Turfway Park which is why there are no turf preps. This year was a little different because of the new Polytrack that Turfway has installed. The Polytrack is an all weather track that handles rain, snow, and freezing temperatures. This track has gotten rave reviews so far and another interesting aspect is that it seems that turf horses handle it very well also.

In the Kentucky Cup Juvenile for fillies the race was won wire to wire by BEAU DARE, a Robert Holthus trainee who scored by more than six lengths. Interestingly enough her only win had come over the turf. The second place finisher had also won on the turf in her only career start. The favorite in the race was FAST DEAL a D. Wayne Lukas trainee who was coming off her maiden win at Saratoga. She chased the pace and tired to finish fourth. Other than the winner don’t expect to see many of these trying the Breeders’ Cup.

The next race was for two year olds and yet another grass winner got the job done. STREAM CAT who broke his maiden on the turf in a stakes race closed strongly in the stretch to score going away. Longshot RUNGIUS ran second at 29-1 with the favorite CAB checking in third. CAB hails from the Steve Asmussen barn and was coming off a big win at Saratoga while breaking his maiden. He may be better suited to sprint races and just like with the filly division it would seem that the winner is the only one with a shot at the Breeders’ Cup.

In the Kentucky Cup Classic the favorite didn’t disappoint this time. SHANIKO who wisely ducked SAINT LIAM in the Woodward came here and scored an easy win as the even money favorite. After stalking the early leader, BALL FOUR, he took over in the stretch and never looked back. BALL FOUR, yet another one of those grass horses that have taken to the new track held well clear for second at 45-1. With the handicap division coming up lite this year trainer Todd Pletcher has to consider SHANIKO for the Breeders’ Cup Classic. No one else will even be considered.

In the next race the Turfway Breeders’ Cup for fillies and mares run at 1 and 1/16th miles the winner was the Bill Mott trainee MISS FORTUNATE. After settling in sixth early on she closed with a rush to score by a half a length. The favorite was BOHEMIAN LADY, from the Pletcher barn but she never made the lead and tired to finish sixth. Similar to the other races don’t expect to see many or any of these horses in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Finally the Kentucky Cup Sprint for three year olds at six furlongs. Although it was only a field of seven horses there was some solid three year old sprinters with the most interesting one being the winner of the race, ESTATE COLLECTION. This three year old gelding ran his record to 3 for 3 but the reason why he is so interesting is that he started his career in August at Del Mar in a maiden claiming race, a race in which he was claimed. He has had three trainers now for three races and his time of 1:09:3 was almost two seconds faster than anything else run on that day. This horse obviously has room for improvement and should be followed for top connections, especially if they take a shot at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

On October 1st at Belmont they host their big day for preps for the Breeders’ Cup but the place to be may be at Philadelphia Park. The great Angel Cordero Jr. who retired back in 1992 is coming out of retirement to ride in two races for trainer Todd Pletcher. He will be favored in one of those races probably as he is scheduled to ride the very solid three year old filly INDIAN VALE. If you can, make it your business to be there because this is not supposed to be a long time comeback. Cordero says only one day but we can hope not. Cordero was the best there was and to get an opportunity to see him back in the game even for one race is the biggest thrill for me and I’m sure thousands of other race fans that knew him when he rode. Good Luck Angel.



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