In a race absent of grade I winners, Saturday's $400,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park looks to be up for grabs with grade II winner and millionaire Dollar Bill leading the list of seven possible starters. Dollar Bill, who will be reunited with jockey Pat Day, is the starting highweight at 117 pounds.
Dollar Bill, owned by Gary and Mary West, hasn't won a race since notching a neck victory in a March 8 allowance race at Fair Grounds in his 4-year-old debut. Since that win, he has hit the board in all four of his subsequent starts, all in graded stakes company. He finished third in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II), fourth in the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), second in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) and the Hawthorne Gold Cup Handicap (gr. II) and was third in the Oaklawn Handicap (gr. I).
"He's never been to Turfway. It's a speed-favoring track, but hopefully the speed will come back to us. There looks to be plenty of it in the race. We're taking a shot," said trainer Dallas Stewart.
Dollar Bill breezed four furlongs in :49 1/5 on Sunday at Churchill Downs.
Abreeze, another likely Classic favorite, had his final serious prep on Tuesday, breezing a half mile in :50 1/5 over the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. The move was the third-fastest of the 12 at distance.
"He went great," said Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains the seven-year-old Danzig gelding for Alvin Haynes, his wife Letty and brother Neal. "He's doing very well and we're ready for Saturday. He'll leave here on Thursday afternoon by van and should be at Turfway on Friday morning."
McLaughlin privately purchased Abreeze earlier this year from the Maktoum family of Dubai. Since making his first North American start on May 31, in which he finished eighth, Abreeze won a $35,000 claiming contest followed by two consecutive allowance races and finished second, 1 1/2 lengths behind Evening Attire, in the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Handicap.
The Paul McGee-trained There's Zealous will be making his first start in graded stakes company, as well as going two turns, when he takes the gate for Saturday's Classic. There's Zealous, who is riding a two-race win streak, including a six-length score in the Cigar Stakes at Arlington Park, breezed five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on Monday at Churchill Downs.
"He worked real well," said McGee, who conditions There's Zealous for Jay Em Es Stable. "We're going to use speed over a speed favoring track. I expect him to have the lead in the early part of the race and to just hold on for the distance."
"I don't know if he has to have the lead or not because there will be a lot of speed in the race. The way he relaxed in his last race, I expect him to get two turns. We just want to be in the right place at the right time."
In other Classic developments, Nothing Flat, third in the Travers Stakes (gr. I), worked five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 on Tuesday at Churchill Downs for trainer Nick Zito. Pure Prize breezed five furlongs in 1:03 on Sunday at Belmont for trainer Shug McGaughey.
The likely starters for the Kentucky Cup Classic with riders are Dollar Bill (Pat Day); Generous Rosi (Mark Guidry); Hero's Tribute (Craig Perret); Miner's Prize (no rider); Nothing Flat (Victor Espinoza); Pure Prize (Mike Smith); Tenpins (Robby Albarado), and There's Zealous (Kent Desormeaux). Deferred Comp and Open Sesame are probable starters.