Sabiango got a wake-up call from jockey Brice Blanc after briefly surrendering the lead and the German-bred responded powerfully in the drive to register a three-length win in the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs Saturday, the featured event in the track's turf festival.
Tim Yakteen, a former assistant to Bob Baffert, registered his first training win with the 6-year-old Sabiango, who is owned by Monty Roberts of "Horse Whisperer" fame.
Sabiango, a son of Acatenango completed the 1 1/2-mile journey in 2:33 3/5 while carrying top weight of 119 pounds.
Breaking on top and allowed to set modest fractions of :53 4/5, 1:22 3/5 and 1:44 3/5, Blanc neede to urge the chestnut after being passed briefly on the far turn by Gorylla. A grade I winner in June, Sabiango quickly recovered to go to an easy victory over runner-up Rochester and Pat Day. Gottabeachboy, 57-1, was third, a half-length farther behind, with Gorylla a neck back in fourth.
Dontbotherknocking was fifth and Sharbayan was pulled up after taking a bad step with a quarter mile ago and bearing out entering the stretch. Quest Star and Art Variety were scratched.
Eleventh in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) in his last start Aug. 14, Sabiango returned to the form he showed in winning the Charles Whittingham Memorial Handicap (gr. IT) in gate-to-wire fashion at Hollywood Park.
He earned $124,000 for the victory, his seventh in 18 lifetime starts, and improved his total purses to $828,333.
The winner paid $4.60, $3.20 and $2.60. Rochester, who won last year's edition via disqualification, returned $2.60 and $2.20. Gottabeachboy's show was $4.80.
Earlier on the card, 7-5 choice Battle Won, ridden by Rafael Bejarano captured the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash by 1 1/4 lengths over Draw Fire. Abderian was four lengths farther back in third.
Trained by Charles Simon, Battle Won, a son of Honour and Glory, earned $62,000 for owner Jay Manoogian and paid $4.80, $3 and $2.40.
The $100,000 Kentucky Cup Mile went to Missme and Bejarano, who defeated 8-5 choice Gretchen's Star by 3 1/2 lengths. Pacesetter Banned in Boston finished third.
Missme, a 5-year-old Belong to Me
gelding trained by Lynn S. Whiting, earned $62,000 for owner/breeder Whippoorwill Farm, Inc., winning for the eighth time in 37 starts. He paid $6.40, $3 and $2.20.
Graded stakes winner Sand Springs snapped an eight-race losing streak when she won the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf by 3 1/4 lengths with Mark Guidry in the irons.
Wildwood Royal was second by two lengths over Omeya. Favored Academic Angel at odds of 8-5 finished last in the field of nine.
Sand Springs, a 4-year-old Dynaformer
filly trained by Anthony Reinstedler, abandoned her usual front-running tactics to stalk Wildwood Royal into the stretch, pulling away willingly. She won for the sixth time in 19 starts to push her career earnings for owner/breeder Willmott Stables Inc. to $663,658.
She paid $10.80, $5.80 and $4.20.