(The impressive Zulu Alpha is all alone at the finish of the $1 Million KY Downs’ Turf Cup / Coady Photography & Courtesy of KY Downs)
From the KY Downs Media Team:
Mike Maker, the winningest trainer in Kentucky Downs history, experienced a frustrating first two days of the current Kentucky Downs meet, going winless with his first 19 starters and feeling unlucky with seven of his horses running second.
Saturday during the highlight day of racing during the RUNHAPPY meet at Kentucky Downs, that frustration was put aside when Zulu Alpha rolled to an authoritative 3 1/4-length victory for the trainer in the Grade 3, $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup. The score gave Maker his fourth victory in the race after Da Big Hoss won it twice for him in 2015-’16, followed by Oscar Nominated in 2017.
Trainer Mike Maker — Zulu Alpha (1st):
“Our horses have been running good, and it’s only a second victory,” he said. “But second pays well here when your horses run well in deep, competitive fields.”
Jockey Jose Ortiz — Zulu Alpha:
“I was more worried about Arklow because I know he could handle the distance,” said Ortiz, currently tied with Florent Geroux in the standings with five winning rides. “I smooched at my horse passing the three eighths, and he was there for me. So I was very confident waiting for him…When we passed the quarter pole, I went on. I didn’t feel (Arklow) closing on, I said ‘alright, let’s go.’ He exploded. He gave me a great run.”
Trainer Brad Cox — Arklow (2nd):
Brad Cox, trainer of defending champion Arklow and pacesetting Factor This, was disappointed with the result. “You prepare for months to get here, and then you run second,” he said of Arklow’s defeat.
Jockey Florent Geroux — Arklow:
Arklow’s jockey, Geroux, offered no excuses for his mount, who closed from seventh. “I had a beautiful trip, very happy. I was tracking the winner all the way.”