Oscar Nominated Seeks Repeat in Kentucky Turf Cup
Oscar Nominated seeks a repeat in the $750,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup while trainer Mike Maker shoots for a record fourth straight victory in the 1 1/2-mile, Grade III stakes. In addition to Oscar Nominated, Maker is sending out Grade I winner Bigger Picture as well as Bronson and Soglio. The capacity field of 12 includes 2017 Dueling Grounds Derby winner Big Bend. California-based Multiplier, last year’s Illinois Derby winner, could become a graded stakes winner on dirt and turf.
Lull could become the first horse to win three stakes at Kentucky Downs as she seeks a repeat in the $450,000 Ladies Sprint, a Grade 3 stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs. But she’ll have to pass the very fast Brielle’s Appeal, who started her career here last year with a victory.
I’m Betty G, winner of Ellis Park's Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf, will be the one to catch in the $500,000, Grade III Ladies Turf. She seeks her first graded-stakes win while shooting for a fourth straight victory. But the one to beat if she handles turf could be Valadorna, Keeneland’s Grade III Doubledogdare winner who was a close second in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies but has never run on grass. California’s Insta Erma and Storm the Hill could be formidabel, and if there's yielding turf, it would move up Pas de Soucis.
The 8-year-old Undrafted, a $1.4 million-earner and Group 1 winner at Royal Ascot, can make the $500,000, Grade III Turf Sprint his first win at Kentucky Downs in five tries, though he’s run very well here with a second and two thirds. That includes finishing third by a total of a half-length in last year’s Turf Sprint won by Hogy, who also was age eight at the time. Hogy is missing the race this year with a bruised foot, but trainer Mike Maker will try to repeat with Vici, who won an allowance race at the track on last Saturday’s opening day. White Flag, stablemate of Lull in the Christophe Clement barn, could provide a lot of value at 6-1 in the morning line.
The $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, the world’s most lucrative prep for the new Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, kicks off the stakes quintet. Maryland-based Chattel could be tough to beat if he runs back to his victory in Saratoga’s $100,000 Skidmore Stakes.