FRANKLIN, KY – Trainer Brad Cox’s Arklow rallied strongly from near the rear and was able to edge past his four Mike Maker-trained foes in deep stretch to take Saturday’s Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
Breaking from post 8 under Florent Geroux, Arklow sat off early while Multiplier and Soglio dueled through an opening mile in 1:40.81. Making his move while running wide into the lane, Arklow surged in the stretch and overtook Soglio before crossing the wire with a 1/2-length advantage. The final time was 2:30.56 for the 1 1/2-mile marathon over a course rated good.
“He’s a big horse, very long stride and very good mover,” Geroux said. “I always thought the longer, the better for him. Brad did a great job bringing him to the race today in excellent shape and in very good form. Sometimes, he’s been a bit of a disappointment because we’ve always thought he has more in him. Today, he was in against some very nice horses, Grade 1-winning horses and graded-stakes horses. And he beat them fairly and squarely.”
Maker’s four runners were the next four across the line, with Bigger Picture necking out third over Soglio and Bronson close behind in fourth. The 2/1 favorite Oscar Nominated wasn’t able to capitalize on his stalking position and was barely able to pass a spent Multiplier to take fifth by a head. Nessy took seventh over Manitoulin, while Some in Tieme necked out ninth ahead of All Right and Big Bend. Nearly 72 lengths behind the winner, My Bariley completed the order of finish. The four Also Eligibles – Bandua, Markitoff, Patterson Cross, and Twenty Four Seven – were all scratched.
Arklow’s win was his second straight following his triumph in the $100,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Calumet Farm Turf Cup Stakes, a local prep for this event. The 4-year-old son of Arch improved his overall record to 15-5-2-1 with earnings of $853,382 for owners Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger, and Peter Coneway.
“I felt good until the gates opened,” said Donegal founder Jerry Crawford. “We thought we’d be sitting third very easily, and we’re suddenly sitting at the back of the pack. But Florent was very patient. Closed up ground on the backside, and then he made a key move in the first third of the stretch, where he goes inside a horse instead of getting stopped and going outside. This horse doesn’t like to get stopped. It might not have worked, that hole could have closed, but it didn’t —and here we are.”
Arklow returned $15.80 to win, $6.60 to place, and $5.20 to show. Bigger Picture brought back $6 to place and $4.20 to show, while Soglio paid $6.40 to show.