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FRANKLIN, KY – Familiar runner Arklow is among a full field of 12, plus 4 also-eligibles, set to battle this Saturday at Kentucky Downs in the $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2), which serves as a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” for the Turf.
Set for race 9 on the card, the race shares the spotlight with 6 other stakes making for a massive day of racing. Post time for the race is 5:44 PM Eastern.
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The defending champion, Arklow needs to rebound off of a couple of poor efforts recently, as we have not seen him run well since he won May’s Louisville Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs. Florent Geroux will be aboard the Brad Cox trainee once again, breaking from post 5 while returning to a quirky turf course that he’s proven to have enjoyed in the past.
The classy Channel Cat ships in from New York after finishing fourth in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) at Saratoga. Three races back, he took the field gate to wire in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, which is what he’ll try to do again when he breaks from post 3 with John Velazquez in the saddle.
A horse trying to recapture his hold form is Zulu Alpha, who has a great past resume but struggled in his recent starts. Last year, he won the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and was later third in this race. Ricardo Santana Jr. will take over the reins when the horse breaks from post 11.
The full field from the rail out: Imperador, Crossfirehurricane, Channel Cat, Tide of the Sea, Arklow, Bluegrass Parkway, Fantasioso, Ajourneytofreedom, Glynn County, Epic Bromance, Zulu Alpha, and Breakpoint. Also eligibles include: Big Dreaming, Artemus Eagle, Dynadrive, and Time for Trouble.
Channel Cat Makes the Grade in Bowling Green
#3 Channel Cat – We’ll see if this classy horse can ship to Kentucky Downs and pick up another nice victory. He is the type that is tough to pass when getting the lead, and if you look at the rest of this field, there is no doubt he could get loose by himself on the front end. If that happens, we could see a repeat of the Man ‘o War Stakes (G1), where he took the field gate to wire with ease. The pace set up makes him very dangerous in this spot.
#1 Imperador – At 15/1, this horse is worth taking a shot with, especially after a solid second-place showing last time out in the United Nations Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park. He should sit the perfect stalking trip in this spot, pouncing when the time is right down the stretch. If he continues to progress, he can pull off the upset here.
#5 Arklow – He won this race last year, but we haven’t seen him run very well in his last 2 starts, which causes some concern. If he’s going to turn it around, this is where he’ll do it, as this field and setup looks to be a bit easier for him. He’s one you have to use defensively on multi-race wagers.
#9 Glynn County – After a nice allowance victory 3 starts back, this horse has ran ok against stakes company twice while up against some tough horses. This is a little bit of an easier spot, even though it’s still a solid field. Mike Maker has plenty of success in these spots and Tyler Gaffalione jumps aboard here, which makes this horse dangerous at a price.
“Glynn County was a Kitten’s Joy and only had a couple of starts when we got him,” said Maker, who entered five runners from his barn. “He’s a nice horse and I think you’re going to hear a lot of him in the future. He ran well at Arlington (third in the Mr. D [G1]). I think he’s one of my better chances.”
Arklow Back on Top in Kentucky Turf Cup
#2 Crossfirehurricane – I realize we haven’t seen this one’s best effort in quite a while, but he has races in his past performances that can be competitive here and Flavien Prat hops aboard. That’s enough of a positive to give him a shot to hit the board at big odds.
#4 Tide of the Sea – We’ve seen this horse perform well in these types of races all year long, although consistency has been a problem. If he can get to the lead, then he can take this field a long ways, but the trip will be the key. We’ll see if he can hang around and grab of piece of things here.
#8 Ajourneytofreedom – Trainer Mike Maker turns this horse back around quickly even though he didn’t run well in his last start at Saratoga. He also gets Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard, which is another good sign. This horse has some solid races in his past performances and Maker has major success going long on the turf, which makes this horse dangerous at a price.
#11 Zulu Alpha – We’ll see if he can get back to his best form in his third start off the layoff. Until proven otherwise, he seems like one you need to fade in spots like these, even though he picked up some major wins last season.
#12 Breakpoint – This horse did very little running in his United States races for Chad Brown and is now with Steve Asmussen, which probably isn’t the best thing when talking about turf routes. Him winning would be a pretty big surprise.
Kentucky Downs Preview Sunday
#6 Bluegrass Parkway – He won on Kentucky Downs Preview Day at Ellis Park at big odds of 13/1, but this race looks much more difficult on paper. Having Mike Maker on his side will help, but he’s a long shot here.
#7 Fantasioso – He’s yet to win in this country, so it’s tough to see that first victory coming against a field of this level. We’ll need to see some improvement for him to have a shot.
#10 Epic Bromance – This horse ran well off the layoff last time out, coming up just short in the Untied Nations and finishing third. However, he was 61/1 in that spot, so perhaps it was a fluke. We’ll see if he can put together back-to-back solid efforts before we play him in spots like this.
Also Eligibles: #13 Big Dreaming, #14 Artemus Eagle, #15 Dynadrive, and #16 Time for Trouble.
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