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2023 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Preview & FREE Picks | Is Gear Jockey A Logical Long Shot?
Gear Jockey (Coady Photography)

2023 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Preview & FREE Picks | Is Gear Jockey A Logical Long Shot?

Aaron previews the 2023 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G2), then gives his top picks & long shots from this “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. The 2021 race winner Gear Jockey looks like a logical long shot at 30/1 on the morning line for trainer Rusty Arnold.

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The press release:

The 25th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint for 3-year-olds and up at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs has Breeders’ Cup implications. The race is a “Win and You’re In” event and the victor gets a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

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The top two finishers from the Grade 3 Troy Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 5 will line up next to each other in the starting gate in the six-furlong Turf Sprint. Cogburn, the winner of the Troy, lines up in post position seven and Nobals, who was second by three-quarters of a length, is next door in No. 8.

Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Cogburn, owned by Clark O. Brewster and L. William and Corinne Heligbrodt, is unbeaten in his last three starts, his first three on grass. Before the Troy win, the son of Not This Time won a pair of ungraded stakes at Lone Star. Ricardo Santana has the mount.

Trained by Larry Rivelli, Nobals, owned by Vince Foglia’s Patricia’s Hope, will try to dictate pace, which he has done most of his career. Gerardo Corrales will ride.

Rivelli also has One Timer, owned by Foglia and Richard Ravin. The son of Trappe Shot won the Grade 2 Franklin-Simpson at Kentucky Downs last year at odds of just under 20-1. E.T.Baird, who rode him that day, has the call here.

Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse sends out late-running Olympic Runner, a son of Gio Ponti. Owned by Gary Barber, Olympic Runner has one win in four starts this year, that coming in his last start, an allowance at Colonial on Aug. 5. Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano will ride.

Irad Ortiz Jr. takes over the riding chores for trainer Chad Brown’s Dr. Zempf, who starts from post 12. Since coming to Brown’s barn from Europe, the son of Dark Angel, who is owned by Ibrahim Rachid’s Rachid’s Racing, has a win in three starts. He was fourth in the Grade 1 Jaipur when last seen in June.

Six-year-old Gear Jockey, winner of the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs in 2021, has only raced once this year, that being a sixth-place finish in the Van Clief Stakes at Colonial on July 22. He is trained by Rusty Arnold, owned by Calumet Farm and will be ridden by Jose Lezcano.

Also entered:

  • George A. Sharp’s Front Run the Fed for trainer Caio Caramori and jockey Reylu Gutierrez
  • Bad Beat Brian, owned by Marsico Brothers Racing, trained by Brittany Vanden Berg and to be ridden by her husband, Chris Emigh
  • Three Diamond Farm’s Anaconda for Joe Sharp and Joel Rosario
  • Robert Cotran’s Eamonn for Joe Orseno and John Velazquez
  • Exline-Border Racing, SAF Racing, Richard Hausman and Stonestreet Stables’ Dream Shake for Michael Stidham and Tyler Gaffalione
  • Calvin Nguyen and Joey Tran’s Noble Reflection for George Papaprodromou and Florent Geroux

Here’s the full field:

1 One Timer (121) Larry Rivelli/E.T. Baird

2 Front Run the Fed (121) Caio Caramori/Reylu Gutierrez

3 Olympic Runner (121) Mark Casse/Javier Castellano

4 Bad Beat Brian (121) Brittany Vanden Berg/Chris Emigh

5 Anaconda (121) Joe Sharp/Joel Rosario

6 Eamonn (121)Joe Orseno/TBD

7 Cogburn (125) Steve Asmussen/Ricardo Santana

8 Nobals (125) Larry Rivelli/Gerardo Corrales

9 Gear Jockey (121) Rusty Arnold/Jose Lezcano

10 Dream Shake (125) Mike Stidham/Tyler Gaffalione

11 Noble Reflection (121) George Papaprodromou/Florent Geroux

12 Dr Zempf (121) Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz

13 AE Counterstrike (121) John Ennis/Jack Gilligan