Entries were drawn Tuesday for Saturday’s 10-race showcase card that features five stakes, of which four are graded, and total purses of $3,885,000, including purse supplements from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund. A total of 140 made the entry sheet, with 25 horses needing defections in order to run. All five of the non-stakes races overfilled, with two stakes overfilling and another getting the capacity 12 horses.
Here’s a quick look at the fields (by Jennie Rees):
$500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint (3:05 p.m. CT, 2yos, 6 1/2 furlongs): Trainer Wesley Ward won last year’s inaugural running of this race when Moonlight Romance beat the boys. Ward tries that again with Stonestreet Stables’ filly Cambria, who 2 for 2 over Presque Isle’s synthetic surface. Mark Casse, who won two stakes on last Saturday’s opening card, goes in the full field of 12 with Ellis Park debut winners Prince of Thieves and Souper Dormy. Axiomo, who won his first start on grass at Churchill Downs at 45-1 odds and then won an allowance race on dirt, returns to the turf after finishing fifth in the Ellis Park Juvenile.
$700,000, Grade 3 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint (3:53 p.m. CT, 3yo & up, 6 furlongs): Kentucky Downs’ first Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series race drew a terrific field of 10, with the winner getting an entry fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint G1) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. Start with the Peter Miller-trained Stormy Liberal, the two-time BC Turf Sprint winner and reigning champion male turf horse. He’s 0 for 4 this year, with a pair of seconds and thirds, but shows strong works at Del Mar. Stormy Liberal’s half-brother Leinster, Saratoga’s Grade 3 Troy Stakes winner who also is out of the mare Vassar, faces his sibling for the first time. Leinster is trained by Rusty Arnold, who also is running Totally Boss, winner of the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint at Ellis Park. New York-based White Flag, second by a head in this stakes last year, returns and is reunited with jockey Joel Rosario, with whom the horse has enjoyed his most success. Others: Canada’s Grade 1 Highlander winner Wet Your Whistle; Keeneland’s Grade 2 Shakertown winner Imprimis, making his first start since a sixth place in England’s Group 1 King’s Stand; the venerable 9-year-old $1.5 million-earner Undrafted, fourth in this stakes last year by a combined three-quarters of a length; and Jazzy Times, a good second to Totally Boss at Ellis.
$500,000, Grade 3 Three Chimneys Ladies Turf (4:28 p.m. CT, fillies & mares 3yo and up, mile): The Bill Mott-trained Mitchell Road, who is out of the same mare (Quake Lake) as adjudged Kentucky Derby winner Country House, won four straight races until she ran into female turf champion Sistercharlie in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Diana. Stakes-winners Simply Breathless, Storm the Hill, Lynne’s Legacy and Ms Bad Behavior come in from California. Every horse in the field of nine is a stakes winner, including Grade 3 winner Coachwhip, Kallio, Sensitive and Viva Vegas.
$500,000,Grade 3 Spendthrift Farm Ladies Sprint (5:01 p.m. CT, fillies & mares 3yo and up, 6 1/2 furlongs): Ruby Notion seeks her first victory since she won this race last year, after which she was fourth against boys in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). Fan favorite Morticia, who has nine wins and never runs a bad race, was third in this race two years ago. May Lily won the 5 1/2-furlong prep at Ellis Park to get a free roll in this stakes and her camp thinks she’ll relish a little extra distance. Cool Beans is ultra-consistent with a 3-5-3 record in 11 starts for Brad Cox, who won two races on last Saturday’s card and was disqualified out of a third. The field of 12, plus three more on the also-eligible list, also includes stakes-winners Oleksandra, Raven’s Lady, Stillwater Cove, A Little Bit Me and Painting Corners.
$1 million, Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup (5:35 p.m. CT, 3yos & up, 1 1/2 miles): Multiple graded stakes-winners Arklow and Bigger Picture, last year’s 1-2 finishers, are back. Arklow, the 5-2 favorite in Byron King’s morning line, has run well against Grade 1 company but seeks his first victory of 2019. Bigger Picture’s Mike Maker-trained stablemate Zulu Alpha, a multiple graded-stakes winner who was claimed 11 1/2 months ago at Churchill Downs partly with this race in mind, is the 9-2 second choice. The top three finishers of Ellis Park’s $100,000 prep race — victorious Factor This, Botswana and My Boy Jack, with a total of a neck separating them — all entered in Kentucky Downs’ first $1 million race race, as did beaten favorite Hello Don Julio. Others include California shippers Blended Citizen and Campaign. Noble Thought and Pillar Mountain run back two weeks after finishing fifth and sixth, respectively, in Saratoga’s Grade I Sword Dancer.