Makes American Stakes Debut
Out of his 6,926 lifetime starters at the racetrack, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has run only three horses at Kentucky Downs.
But he’ll have two on Saturday, most notably Muqtaser in the $600,000, Grade III Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup for Shadwell Stable.
Shadwell and McLaughlin also have Mutazen in a $145,000 second-level allowance race. McLaughlin has only one career win at Kentucky Downs, but it was a good one.
“We’re excited to be there. I think if you look back in the history, Shadwell and McLaughlin won one of the first runnings of this race,” McLaughlin, New York-based but raised in Lexington, said by phone, adding with a laugh, “So we are familiar with Kentucky Downs.”
That would be Fahris, the 1999 winner of the Turf Cup.
Muqtaser comes into the 1 1/2-mile Kentucky Turf Cup off two Saratoga allowance victories at 1 3/8 mile. The horse started out in England and apparently was such a handful that he was sent to the United States and gelded. The Kentucky Turf Cup is Muqtaser’s first stakes since running in minor races in England, where he won the $18,700 Slug & Lettuce Midweek Meet Handicap Stakes at Sundown Park.
After the horse lost by 32 and 29 lengths last winter on the dirt at Aqueduct, Joe Bravo roade Muqtaser to a close second and the Saratoga victories in his past three starts.
“He’s not an easy horse to ride, and Joe Bravo has done a great job on him in the afternoon,” McLaughlin said “He’s tough to train and ride. But he’s doing really well, and we’re happy to be in that race, thinking he might like that course. Like I said, this horse is doing great.”
Muqtaser is beautifully bred. He is a son of the prominent stallion Distorted Humor and out of the Tiznow mare Life Well Lived, who also is the mom of Keeneland’s Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile winner American Patriot. Also from that female family is Dubai World Cup winner Well Armed.
As an aside, Taghleeb, who was claimed off of McLaughlin and Shadwell a year ago at Saratoga, is part of trainer Mike Maker's stakes quartet in the race. Taghleeb is a three-time stakes-winner for his current owners and is coming off a runner-up performance in Arlington's Grade III American St. Leger.
Edited Kentucky Downs release
Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (G3)
pp horse (weight) jockey/trainer odds
1 Postulation (123) Vergas/Graham 9-2
2 Lucky Ramsey (121) Hill/Morse 30-1
3 Muqtaser (123) Bravo/McLaughlin 6-1
4 Oscar Nominated (121) Leparoux/Maker 7-2
5 Crescent Drive (121) Mena/Amoss 20-1
6 Zulu Alpha (121) Albarado/Fernandez 30-1
7 Enterprising (123) Lanerie/Maker 3-1
8 Bullards Alley (121) Pedroza/Glyshaw 12-1
9 One Go All Go (121) Cannon/Matejka 20-1
10 St. Louie (123) Gaffalione/Maker 30-1
11 Taghleeb (123) J. Ortiz/Maker 5-1
12 Nessy (121) Hernandez/Wilkes 20-1