FRANKLIN, KY – Paul Pompa Jr. homebred Turned Aside is the 3/1 morning line favorite in Wednesday’s $500,000 Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs, the final stakes of the 2020 meet.
The Franklin-Simpson is a 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint restricted to 3-year-olds. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 10-race card and has a local post time of 5:32 PM.
Here’s a look at the full field for the Franklin-Simpson:
1. Turned Aside 3/1 – The sharp turf sprinter makes his first start outside the state of New York, where he compiled a record of 7-3-2-1 that includes winning the 5 1/2-furlong Quick Call Stakes (G3) over several rivals entered here. He’s yet to race beyond 6 furlongs, but the son of 2015 Triple Crown champ American Pharoah should find the extra distance manageable.
2. Johnny Unleashed 12/1 – He returns to Kentucky Downs after setting the pace and fading in last year’s Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes. He failed to hit the board in his 3 prior stakes attempts, but he should be in top form after most recently taking an optional claiming field gate to wire in a 5-furlong dash at Indiana Grand that earned him a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure.
3. Maven 5/1 – He won 2 of 3 starts as a juvenile, including the Prix du Bois (G3) in France, then wired an allowance field while making his 2020 debut at Keeneland in mid-July. He failed to duplicate that success last time out in the Mahony Stakes after breaking poorly and never establishing himself on the front end, but with a better start here, he should be prominent early.
4. Flap Jack 20/1 – He gives turf sprint a third try after finishing fourth in the Quick Call and fifth in the Mahony. He won last September’s Arlington Washington Futurity over Arlington Park’s synthetic surface and nearly broke his maiden 1 start prior in a turf route at the same location, so getting the distance shouldn’t be a question – just his talent level.
5. Island Commish 20/1 – He won 3 straight over the winter, topped by January’s Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3) when routing over the Gulfstream Park lawn. He’s failed to hit the board in 4 starts since, including finishing fourth in the Mahony last time out, but this is his third start of his form cycle, which is often when a horse peaks, so he could be sitting on a big effort.
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6. Old Chestnut 20/1 – He won his first 2 turf sprint attempts, including last September’s Ontario Racing Stakes at Woodbine, but failed to hit the board in 3 remaining starts in 2019. He finished third in the Sir Cat Stakes and second in the Quick Call before failing to fire in the Mahony, but his closing style was no match for the runaway winner; this is a better pace setup.
7. Kimari 5/2 – Originally made the morning line favorite, she was cross-entered here but will scratch after her connections opted to run her in Tuesday’s Music City Stakes.
8. Guildsman 20/1 – The French-bred spent his juvenile season racing in Europe, where he put together a 6-1-1-1 record that includes just missing in the Coventry Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot. He’s now with trainer Brendan Walsh, who’s saddled him to a 4-1-0-2 record in 2020 that includes winning the Tom Ridge Stakes last time out over the Presque Isle Downs synthetic.
9. Embolden 10/1 – The consistent Mike Stidham trainee’s 8-2-3-2 record includes strong efforts on turf and dirt, in sprints and routes, and against several stakes runners. Both victories came last summer against fellow Virginia-breds, but his resume’s only blemish is his fourth-place effort last time out in the Saranac Stakes (G3), which came on a soft turf course.
10. Another Miracle 15/1 – His 2019 highlights include winning the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga and finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2) before his former trainer retired. He won the My Frenchman Stakes last time out for current conditioner Joe Orseno, who saddled Imprimis to win Saturday’s Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3)
11. Fore Left 10/1 – He won 2 straight to start his career, including the Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park, while putting together an 8-3-0-2 record in his juvenile season. He won his 2020 debut in the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) and rebounded from a well-beaten ninth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) to finish third last time out in the Quick Call, his first turf sprint attempt.
12. Souper Dormy 30/1 – He broke his maiden on debut last summer before finishing fifth in the Juvenile Turf Sprint over this course and distance. He’s yet to live up to the $400k that his owners paid for him at auction and will need to greatly improve upon the 78 Beyer Speed Figure that he earned for defeating an optional claiming field at Fair Grounds in mid-March.
13. Competitive Saint 8/1 – He ran second from start to finish in the Mahony behind a loose-on-the-lead winner, his first defeat in 3 career starts. He broke his maiden over the Gulfstream Park dirt in May and won a Saratoga turf sprint allowance in late July, and thanks to Kimari’s scratch, bettors will have an opportunity to play him at a fair price.
14. Race Driver 20/1 (Also Eligible) – The first runner needing a scratch in order to make the gate, he broke his maiden in a dirt route last November but seems to have found his best footing in turf sprints. He defeated an optional claiming field at Fair Grounds in February and finished third last time out behind Maven and Johnny Unleashed in a Keeneland allowance.
15. Mishko 30/1 (Also Eligible) – Both of his career victories came in turf routes at the beginning of 2020, first for a $30k tag and then against optional claiming foes. His lone prior stakes attempt resulted in a well-beaten fourth in February’s Black Gold Stakes and his most recent start saw him finish third as the favorite while running for a $50k tag.
16. Olson 30/1 (Also Eligible) – His current connections claimed him for $16k from his owner/breeder and gave him his first shot on turf in his next start, a 5 1/2-furlong allowance dash at Ellis Park that he won after dueling throughout. He’ll need at least three further scratches to make the field, but he stands a good chance to improve if he does.