FRANKLIN, KY – Susan and Jim Hill’s Totally Boss will attempt a rare feat on Saturday: become just the second horse (after Hold the Salt) to repeat in the $700,000 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs.
The winner of the Runhappy Turf Sprint will receive an automatic position in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) this fall at Keeneland. Pre-entry and entry fees will be paid and a nominator award of $10,000 will be given to the nominating person. Also, all Breeders’ Cup starters based outside of the state of Kentucky will receive a travel allowance of $10,000 if based in North America and $40,000 if based Internationally.
The race is a 6-furlong dash across the grass open to horses ages 3 and up. The 2020 edition attracted a full field of 12, plus 4 on the Also Eligible list hoping for scratches.
Let’s look at the full field:
#1 Renaisance Frolic – He’ll attempt sprinting on turf for the first time in his career after compiling 5 grass route victories, 3 of which he strung together during a hot streak last fall. Though he’s failed to hit the board in 2 prior tries over the local lawn, trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr., has a 23% success rate in turf sprints.
#2 Stubbins – He returns to Kentucky Downs hoping to finish one placing better than he did in last year’s Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G3), when he was runner-up to his Doug O’Neill stablemate Legends of War. Stubbins parlayed that effort into winning the Woodford Stakes (G2) at Keeneland and a respectable fourth-place effort in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
#3 Front Run the Fed – He makes his graded stakes debut here after winning 4 of his past 6 starts, including the 2019 Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga. He has been favored in all 8 career turf attempts and trainer Chad Brown won with 2 of his first 3 runners at this meet, so don’t expect to catch much of a price on him come post time.
#4 Totally Boss – The tepid morning line favorite makes his first start back after just missing by a head to his Rusty Arnold stablemate Leinster in July’s Shakertown Stakes (G2) at Keeneland. He won 4 of 5 starts (including this event) last year before finishing 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at the end of the season.
#5 Bombard – He returned from a 371-day break to finish second by a head in a 5 1/2-furlong Del Mar turf dash, then struggled while stretching out in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2). Jockey Flavien Prat has an 11-4-2-3 record when in this gelding’s saddle, a mark that includes winning 2 turf stakes: the 2018 Siren Lure (6 1/2 furlongs) and the 2019 Wickerr (1 mile).
#6 Kanthaka – After nearly 13 months on the bench, he resurfaced as a first-time gelding with new trainer Graham Motion in June’s Jaipur Stakes (G1), another “Win and You’re In” for the Turf Sprint, and nearly pulled off the 16/1 upset. Jockey Jose Ortiz stays aboard for the second straight time looking to improve upon his 18% success rate when riding for Motion.
#7 American Anthem – A multiple graded stakes winner on dirt, his first start for new trainer Mike Maker coincides with his first time trying turf. While the surface swap presents an important question that he must answer, the barn change should help his chances: Maker has won 18% of his Kentucky Downs starts in the past five years.
#8 Bon Raison – After losing him for a $16k tag 25 months ago, breeder Calumet Farm claimed him back – this time for $80k – out of his most recent start, when he finished a well-beaten third over the Saratoga main track. Though he’s never finished better than third in 5 turf starts, it stands to reason that Calumet Farm would not have reclaimed him just to place him incorrectly.
#9 Imprimis – After finishing sixth in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, he took an extended vacation before returning in August’s Troy Stakes (G3), which he initially won by 2 1/4 lengths before being disqualified and placed third. He reunites with Irad Ortiz, Jr., for the third time after they teamed up to win 2 straight (including the Jim McKay Turf Sprint Stakes at Pimlico) in 2018.
#10 Richiesinthehouse – He earned a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his 5 1/2-length romp on the Presque Isle Downs synthetic main track while facing optional claiming rivals. Though the majority of his success has come on all-weather surfaces, his 4-2-0-1 turf record includes winning his first 2 career starts and missing last year’s Nearctic Stakes (G2) by a neck.
#11 Archidust – He posted back-to-back career-best Beyer Speed Figures since being rescued from his former barn and joining trainer Steve Asmussen, winning both starts while sprinting in Monmouth Park turf stakes. The latter effort saw him make a late outside surge while carrying 6 pounds more than any other rival; carrying equal weight here could make him dangerous.
#12 Bound for Nowhere – Owner/trainer Wesley Ward has carefully handled this lightly-raced 6-year-old to a 14-6-2-2 record that includes winning the 2018 Tourist Mile Stakes over the local lawn. Jockey Julio Garcia, aboard that day, hops back into the saddle of a horse who’s gone unraced since finishing just a neck behind Leinster and Totally Boss in July’s Shakertown.
#13 Tiger Blood (Also Eligible) – The first of four on the Also Eligible list, he’ll also try to be the second entry from the Maker barn to run. After his current owners claimed him for $62.5k out of a Gulfstream Park turf sprint victory, his 2 subsequent starts saw him finish eighth (beaten 1 3/4 lengths) in the Shakertown and second (by 1 length) in the Preview Turf Sprint at Ellis Park.
#14 Fast Boat (Also Eligible) – The second of four on the Also Eligible list earned a career-best 104 Beyer Speed Figure after beating optional claimers in a Churchill Downs turf sprint. He followed that up with a fourth-place finish (beaten 3/4 of a length) in the Shakertown last time out and will have Adam Beschizza aboard for the fifth straight start if he draws into the field.
#15 Hollis (Also Eligible) – The third horse on the Also Eligible list has won 2 of his past 3 starts, including a turf sprint, while competing at Ellis Park. His lone defeat saw him finish fifth in the Preview Turf Sprint and his career-best Beyer Speed Figure on turf (83) pales in comparison to those of his rivals, but it helps that trainer John Ortiz has won 5 of his past 19 turf sprints (26%).
#16 Admiral Lynch (Also Eligible) – The last horse to draw into the race if enough scratches appear, he’s also the third Maker entry trying to make the field in what would be his turf debut. If he makes his way into the starting gate as a result of one or more of his stablemates scratching, then that could be considered a major vote of confidence from his trainer.
The Runhappy Turf Sprint serves as the 11th and final race on Saturday’s card at Kentucky Downs and is one of five stakes, including the Ladies Turf (G3), the Ladies Sprint (G3), the Juvenile Turf Sprint, and the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3). The American-based Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series “Win and You’re In” events continue September 19 at Santa Anita Park with the Speakeasy (Juvenile Turf Sprint).
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is presented by America’s Best Racing.