Walter New's Lone Star Sky, winner of the grade III Bashford Manor Stakes July 7 at Churchill Downs, looms the favorite when he makes his first start around two turns in the $200,000 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes Sept. 2 at River Downs.
A field of nine is set for the 1 1/16-mile Cradle, the first major stakes for 2-year-olds around two turns. The race, the ninth on a 12-race program, will help bring the curtain down on the 2002 River Downs season. The feature is set for 5:30 p.m. EDT.
Lone Star Sky, trained by Tom Amoss, broke his maiden in his debut June 13 at Arlington Park, and followed up with the Bashford Manor win. In his last start Aug. 14 at Saratoga, Lone Star Sky finished second to Zavata in the grade II Saratoga Special.
Regular rider Mark Guidry, who spent the summer at Saratoga, is named to ride Lone Star Sky, who is by Conquistador Cielo out of the Deputy Minister mare Ministrada. All starters in the race are to carry 120 pounds.
The lone Cradle entrant with a victory around two turns is owner/trainer Ron Potts Jr.'s Payforaday, who won the allowance prep for the Cradle Aug. 10 at River Downs by 10 3/4 lengths. In his previous start, Payforaday broke his maiden for a $30,000 tag at Ellis Park.
Larry Taylor rode Payforaday in the Cradle prep, and he gets a return call.
Trainer Ken McPeek, who has won recent editions of the Cradle with Harlan's Holiday and Deputy Warlock, will saddle Churchill maiden winner Risky Cat for owners Bill Hayes and Tom O'Grady. Jose Martinez Jr. has a return call aboard Risky Cat.
Here's the complete field, in post-position order, with jockeys and trainers:
1 Risky Cat Jose Martinez Jr. Ken McPeek
2 Lone Star Sky Mark Guidry Tom Amoss
3 Skamper James Lopez Eric Reed
4 Timber Cowboy John McKee Larry Richardson
5 Luvbnme Mathieu Adam James Spicer
6 Christmas Away Jesus Castanon Pat Byrne
7 Midway Cat John Court Rick Hiles
8 Payforaday Larry Taylor Ron Potts Jr.
9 Luke Perry Ouzts Mike Crowder