Bourbonesque, owned by Brad Kelley, former owner of Kentucky Downs, won the first race. Wayne Lukas trains, Jon Court on board. Calvin Borel, riding Finishing Touch for trainer Al Skinner, was second.
At 9-1, Niederzel outgamed Forever Sure in the 12-furlong second race. There was an exciting finish. Joe Johnson up; Robert Radcliffe trains the winner. Real nice race.
Soft Whisper, who came here from the West Virginia Senate President's Cup, won the third. The even money off a 4-1 morning line after three scratches, Soft Whisper is trained by David Vance and was ridden by Corey Lanerie.
Strike the Note struck the lead and ran off to win the fourth race, a maiden special weight, for Bret Calhoun and rider Brian Hernandez, Jr. At this undulating course, with the ground still rated good, 1:22.68 for the 6 1/2 furlongs was a good time.
Terubcheh took the fifth after taking an early lead. Corey Lanerie rode for trainer Chuck Peery. It was Lanerie's second win of the day.
Track announcer John Lies called it: Console was "the easiest of winners" in race 6. Brian Hernandez, Jr. got a second win on the day. Console, a first-time starter, was 3-1 off a 20-1 morning line. He's trained by Thomas Drury, Jr. for Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
Ol Army, trained by Chuck Peery, won the seventh; it was Peery's second win of the day. Victor Lebron was up on the winner.
A holiday theme in the eighth: Megnog, Corey Lanerie was up, and Tom Proctor training. It was Lanerie's third win today.
Corey Lanerie and Brian Hernandez, Jr. combined to win five of the eight races.
In taking the $62,000 featured allowance race, Ol Army won for the second time in nine days. He scored his maiden victory Sept. 1 at Ellis Park by nearly five lengths.
His trainer, Chuck Peery, said it was an unusual move for him to bring a horse back so quickly to run again -- especially after an effort such as Ol Army’s maiden win, which was clearly the best performance of the 3-year-old’s career.
“But he came out of the race so good,” Peery said about the son of Posse, “and he’s been improving so much that I thought this might be an opportunity.” Peery explained that he thought Ol Army might have a conditioning advantage on some of his rivals who hadn’t raced since last year. “And this is a demanding course,” the trainer continued, “so I decided to enter.”
Holdin Bullets, the 2-1 favorite who was making his first start since finishing third in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, shot to the lead immediately, pursued closely by Chief’s Revenge. Shun, an impressive maiden winner who was making his seasonal debut, assumed a stalking role, along with Ol Army. Holdin Bullets led the field through an opening half-mile in :49.00, but he faltered in the turn and soon faded to last in the field of 12.
Ol Army and Shun suddenly became the vanguard. Alongside each other, they entered the stretch, where Ol Army proved strongest, winning by 3 1/4 lengths and completing the mile over a good race course in 1:43.05 under Victor Lebron. Shun finished second, and Paroled rallied to be third. Earning $37,200, Ol Army improved his bankroll to $69,383. He’ll probably make his next start at Keeneland, Peery said.
Console won the top prize for lasting impressions. A 3-year-old son of War Front out of the stakes winning Pulpit mare Bema, Console popped from the gate like a veteran, and after he opened up 10 lengths, Hernandez took the colt in hand. Console completed the six furlongs in 1:14.40, and that's race horse time on the undulating track. He’s owned by his breeders, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider.
Racing resumes Wednesday at Kentucky Downs with an eight-race card. Post time for the first race will be 1:35 p.m. Central time.
NOTES: Brad Kelley is native of Franklin, Kentucky. His Hermitage Hall bred Bourbonesque. Jon Court, the jockey on board Bourbonesque, was delayed arriving at the track for the opener when he ran out of gas on his motorcycle approximately five miles north. A friend following Court gave him a ride. Kentucky Downs personnel fueled up a gas can and were on their way to retrieve Court’s motorcycle just as the horses were going onto the track for the first race.
Claiborne Farm president Seth Hancock was on hand at Kentucky Downs and was in the winner’s circle after Console’s impressive win of the sixth rac.
Kentucky Downs has made a slight adjustment to its wagering menu for the balance of the meet, lowering the minimum wager on Trifectas from $1.00 to $0.50 effective with Wednesday’s card.
A total of 112 horses have been nominated to the four stakes races on Kentucky Turf Cup Day Saturday, September 15. Among the nominees to the Grade III $200,000 feature race are defending champion Rahystrada, 2011 winner Rezif, 2012 Arlington Million Grade I winner Little Mike and Ioya Bigtime, who won Arlington Park’s Grade III Stars and Stripes Stakes. Entries for Saturday’s races will close Tuesday morning.
Contributors to this story were Dick Downey and Kentucky Downs