FRANKLIN, KY – Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Oscar Nominated used the lengthy stretch drive to his advantage, charging late to capture the Grade 3, $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes at Kentucky Downs.
Settling into seventh under rider Julien Leparoux, Oscar Nominated watched as One Go All Go led the pace through the first mile. Entering the stretch five wide, the son of Kitten’s Joy began reeling in the front-runners, getting up in the final yards to cross the line first by a head over Postulation in a final time of 2:31.37 for the 1 1/2-mile turf marathon.
“It’s a fun track to ride, a little bit technical,” Leparoux said. “We saved ground around the first turn, which going that far is a big key. You have to have your horse very relaxed during the race. And you also have to be able to handle up and down the hill. He won last year, so I was confident he was going to handle it. But he actually really loved it.”
Muqtaser crossed a 1/2-length behind in third. St. Louie, Taghleeb, Bullards Alley, Nessy, One Go All Go, Enterprising, Zulu Alpha, Lucky Ramsey, and Crescent Drive completed the order of finish. Motivational and Tobias were scratched as also-eligibles.
Oscar Nominated returned to the winner’s circle for the first time since last year’s Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby here on September 11. He followed up that win with five straight in-the-money finishes, but most recently finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Grade 1 United Nations and the Grade 1 Arlington Million.
“He’s never had a bad day in his life,” Maker said. “Unfortunately, it’s taken this long this year to get his first victory.”
The Turf Cup win was trainer Mike Maker’s record third, having won the past two editions with Da Big Hoss. It was also Maker’s third stakes win of the 2017 meet after previously taking Saturday’s $400,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint with Hogy and Thursday’s $150,000 Old Friends with Sir Dudley Digges.
The winner’s share of $345,960 pushed Oscar Nominated into millionaire status. His career earnings improved to $1,168,115 with a record of 21-5-6-2.
Oscar Nominated returned $9.40 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3 to show. Postulation brought back $5 to place and $4 to show, while Muqtaser paid $4.80 to show.