Dueling Grounds Derby, Kentucky Turf Cup, More Than Ready Mile, One Dreamer Stakes
Path of David Detours to Dueling Grounds Derby
The 1 1/8-mile Del Mar Derby was trainer Kristin Mulhall’s target for Path of David for much of the year, the colt having won Santa Anita’s Eddie Logan on turf last Dec. 31. But to Mulhall’s shock, Ike and Dawn Thrash’s gelded son of Istan never made it into the body of the field, nor even the “also-eligible” list that would have provided the opportunity to run had there been scratches. That’s because a stakes condition that was changed for 2016 that gave preference to horses based on 2016 earnings — so his stakes win on the last day of 2015 didn’t count, she said.
“That’s how we ended up coming here,” Mulhall said Thursday, the day after Path of David arrived at Kentucky Downs for Sunday’s 1 5/16-mile, $350,000 Dueling Grounds Derby . “It’s a little long, but he’s bred to go that far.”
In his first start this year, Path of David was a well-beaten sixth in Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis on dirt Feb. 6. Back on grass, he was third in Del Mar’s opening-day.
“We tried him on the dirt, just because you have to with a 3-year-old and the way he trained on the dirt,” said Mulhall, who was among the big stories of the 2004 Kentucky Derby when she finished third at age 21 with long-shot Imperialism. “We freshened him and let him grew. The Del Mar Derby was our goal the whole year. We prepped in the Oceanside to run in the Del Mar Derby. Never did we dream we’d get excluded. Here we were fifth on the list” to make the field.
Bullards Alley Takes Shot in Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup
Bullards Alley is a 10-1 shot in the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, but his connections are hoping his affinity for the course (he was third in an allowance race last year) and the 1 1/2-mile distance helps the 4-year-old gelding add to the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap he won three races back. In his subsequent two starts, Bullards Alley was fifth in Arlington Park’s Stars and Stripes won by fellow Kentucky Turf Cup entrant Greengrassofyoming and then sixth in West Virginia Speakers Cup at a mile and 70 yards on dirt at Mountaineer won by Watchyourownbobber, one of the favorites for Saturday’s $400,000 More Than Ready Mile.
“He likes the mile-and-a-half distance, and he ran well at Kentucky Downs last year,” said Natalie Glyshaw, who oversees husband Tim Glyshaw’s Churchill Downs operation while the trainer is at Indiana Grand. “Some horses love the track, some don’t. We’re hoping the whole field doesn’t like it and we like it.
“That race at Arlington, he kind of got lost. Louie Roussel had one go out on the lead and set some pretty wicked fractions and we were kind of chasing him. He kind of ran like two races, ran a little bit, then got kind of confused where all the horses were. When he turned for home, he got back in the pack of horses and ran on, but he wasn’t going to get anything that day.”
Whatever happens, Bullards Alley, a son of Travers winner Flower Alley, has been a great purchase for owners Wayne Spalding and Faron McCubbins of Mount Washington, Ky.
“He was bought at the Eugene Melnyk dispersal (in 2014) for $11,000,” Natalie Glyshaw said. “They had started on him, I guess, as a 2-year-old. He had some shins on him so they turned him out and wasn’t even in training when we bought him. He was still a colt and a handful. We sent him to Billy Denzik (at the Highpointe training center), and he called the owner and said, ‘If you don’t let me cut him today, come get him.’ He couldn’t catch him.”
Newly gelded, “we brought him in and he ran one time and then he shin-bucked and cracked his shins,” she said. “We jogged him like four months, to where he was strong enough to go, and he’s been good since. He’s a total distance horse. We think the farther the better, doesn’t matter if it’s turf or dirt. Bullard liked Kentucky Downs last year, and for $600,000 you’ve got to take a shot with a horse who loves the distance and loves the turf. For that kind of money it’s hard to not give them a shot.”
Glyshaw acknowledged that Da Big Hoss, last year’s Kentucky Turf Cup winner, “is definitely the horse to beat. We hoping that since he’s on a three-win win streak that he bounces. It’s tough to win that many races in a row so we’re hoping he has an off day and we have a good day.”
Drysdale Going for Saturday Double with Brothers
West Coast-based Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale has brought 2015 Kentucky Turf Cup runner-up Power Ped and his older brother, Power Foot, to Kentucky Downs. Power Ped is running this year in the $400,000 More Than Ready Mile, while Power Foot is going in the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup. Power Ped also was entered in Thursday’s $150,000 Old Friends Stakes but was scratched.
“It’s just the way it came up,” Drysdale said of where he ran the two sons of Arlington Million winner Powerscourt and the Black Minnaloushe mare Madame Blackfoot. Winner of $510,234, Power Ped was last in a small stakes at the Santa Rosa fair meet after being a decent fourth in Del Mar’s Wickerr.
“We sent him up north and he didn’t like that track up there. He didn’t like something, because he didn’t run his race,” Drysdale said. “In his previous race, in the Wickerr, speed was holding that day, and he was out the back and came with a nice run.”
Power Foot is multiple graded stakes-placed and at 7 a year older than Power Ped. Big brother was seventh in the Grade 2 Del Mar Handicap at 1 3/8 miles in his last start, but lost by less than three lengths.
“The other horse is more of a distance horse, and we’re separating them,” Drysdale said. “Power Ped, really his best click is nine or 10 (furlongs); a mile and a half is probably pushing it. So that’s why we did this.”
Drysdale came with seven horses, including Calumet Farm’s Miss Double d’Oro, who runs in Saturday’s nightcap, the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint. The multiple stakes-winner was fourth in last year’s Dueling Grounds Oaks. “She ran well here going longer, but we’ve discovered she’s very good going short,” Drysdale said.
Little Scotty is to be scratched out of an allowance race Saturday to run in the $350,000 Dueling Grounds Derby, Drysdale said. Little Scotty, a half-brother to Arlington Million and Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Little Mike, was bred and originally owned and trained by Carlo Vaccarezza. He was sold to owner David Heerensperger after winning a $50,000 maiden-claiming race at Gulfstream Park.
“He’s been running against older horses successfully because he’s been running a distance of ground,” Drysdale. “He also is a half-brother to Little Mike, so that’s why we bought him. So if it rains, it wouldn’t bother him in the least. Same thing with Power Ped.”
Entrechat is one of the favorites in Saturday’s $150,000 One Dreamer for fillies and mares who haven’t won a stakes in 2016. “She might be better sprinting, but she’s a Kentucky-bred, so we’re trying her at a mile (and 70 yards) in the restricted stakes,” Drysdale said.
Fleet Bertie Makes Stakes Debut in Saturday’s One Dreamer
Following a successful turf debut last time out at Indiana Grand, Richard and Bertram Klein’s Fleet Bertie, will be looking for yet another grass victory in Saturday’s $150,000 One Dreamer, which is run at a distance of a mile and 70 yards.
The change in surface appeared to do just the trick for the 4-year-old daughter of Afleet Alex, who will be breaking from the rail at 12-1 odds. She entered her last start coming off of a string of five losses on the main track. Since winner her racing debut at Keeneland on April 15 of last year, she has yet to step outside of allowance company in eight starts.
“We always thought that she would be a nice turf horse,” said trainer Charlie LoPresti. “She really improved on the turf when we ran her last time. We’ve entered her in some turf races in the past but they’ve all got rained off so it’s nice to have her in this spot.
“There aren’t any ‘three other thans’ (allowance races) for her anywhere, so this is a nice spot,” LoPresti said. “She doesn’t necessarily have to win. If she hits the board we’ll get some black type from her.
“Her numbers are better on grass, but the biggest thing with Kentucky Downs is that you don’t know how they’ll like the turf course. It’s all matter of who likes it and who doesn’t.”
Jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr., who piloted the filly to an allowance win at Indiana Grand last July, has the mount for Saturday’s race.
Unedited Kentucky Downs release