Could Pad Lead Thursday
With seven victories, four of them in stakes races, Mike Maker has secured a second straight training title at Kentucky Downs with seven wins from 28 races. He also has three seconds and five thirds. His nearest rivals, Rusty Arnold and Christophe Clement, each have three wins, each but neither has enough starters on the closing card to remain mathematically alive. Maker has eight horses in seven races Thursday.
Geroux on Track
At 11 for 37 and with a six-win cushion over his nearest rival, Florent Geroux is guaranteed at least a share of the riding title that he won outright last year. Geroux won the 2015 Kentucky Downs crown with 12 wins. The jockey is 11 for 27 since being shut out on opening day. He has mounts in eight of 10 races Thursday.
“We’ve been focused on this meet for a while,” Geroux said after sweeping both the Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby on Oscar Nominated and the Dueling Grounds Oaks on Try Your Luck, both trained by Maker. “Mike had been pointing for those types of races. Where some connections have their focus on Saratoga or Del Mar, Mike has focused on this meet, and it’s make all the difference. It was just luck getting in the maiden and allowance races, but the stakes you pretty much know every horse is going to get in. It’s worked out well.”
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s four wins give them a two-win lead over four ownership groups. The Ramseys have four horses entered Thursday, including high-weighted Al’s Gal in the $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies’ Marathon. If Al’s Gal wins, it would be the fifth one-time claimer to win a stakes this meet for Maker and third for the Ramseys. Geroux has the mount.
Sweeping Paddy Pointed to BC Juvenile Fillies Turf
One of the most impressive winners this meet was Sweeping Paddy, a full sister to Preakness runner-up Cherry Wine. The 2-year-old filly was third at Ellis Park in her debut on dirt, the meet there producing a lot of good runners at Kentucky Downs. She won by 12 1/2 lengths under Robby Albarado at Kentucky Downs. The effort earned her a 97 BRIS speed figure.
Like Cherry Wine, she’s trained by Dale Romans and was bred and is owned by Frank Jones of Louisville, William Pacella of Chicago and Frank Shoop of Lexington. Romans said the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf is the objective, but how she gets there remains to be determined.
“You never expect them to win by 12 1/2, though I knew she was a very good horse,” Romans said. “She does well on the dirt, too, but right now we’ll leave her on the turf for a while. The Jessamine (at Keeneland) is a little too close to the Breeders’ Cup this year, so maybe something like the Miss Grillo in New York."
Edited Kentucky Downs release