Stonerside Stable's Congaree, an earner of more than $2.7 million and winner last out of the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I), was installed the 4-5 morning line choice for Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park. The Bob Baffert-trained son of Arazi will face only four others in the 1 1/8-mile race, but one of those is the grade I-winning Perfect Drift, who was made the 6-5 second choice by Turfway Park oddsmaker Mike Battaglia.
Congaree will break from post 4 in the Classic, and will be ridden for the first time by Edgar Prado. Prado has several top mounts for the day's card that includes four other stakes.
The 10th running of the $350,000 Classic is the signature event of the day, which also includes the $175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles; the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles, the first two-turn graded stakes for 2-year-olds; the one-mile Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies worth $100,000; and the Kentucky Cup Sprint, a grade III, $100,000 six-furlong event for 3-year-olds.
The Classic has a post time of 5:37 p.m. EST.
The field for the race, from the rail out, is: Even the Score, 115 pounds; Crafty Shaw, 115; Perfect Drift, 120; Congaree, 124; and M B Sea, 113. The race will be shown as part of TVG's full-day Kentucky Cup coverage and will also be shown, along with the Juvenile, live on FOXSports Net.
Congaree, a homebred for Robert and Janice McNair's Stonerside Stable, will seek to add the Classic to his resume as he approaches the Breeders' Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) in six weeks at Santa Anita. Baffert chose to send the 5-year-old to Kentucky from his base in California because of the spacing of the race. California's main Breeders' Cup prep is the Goodwood Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at the Oak Tree meeting, and it is run on Oct. 4, three weeks prior to the World Thoroughbred Championships.
Baffert won the 2000 Classic with Captain Steve and the 1997 renewal with Semoran. His Silver Charm dead-heated for the win with Wild Rush in 1998. Other top runners Baffert has brought to Turfway for the Kentucky Cup include champions Point Given and Vindication.
Stonerside Stable's Social Charter finished second in the 1999 Classic, behind longshot Da Devil, but ahead of Cat Thief, who went on to win that year's Breeders' Cup Classic at Gulfstream Park.
Perfect Drift, a 4-year-old son of Dynaformer, may hold home field advantage at Turfway Park, having won three of five starts over the surface, including last year's Lane's End Spiral Stakes (gr. II). He followed that effort with a third-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) for trainer Murray Johnson. Perfect Drift is a homebred by Dr. William A. Reed's Stonecrest Farm.
Perfect Drift defeated pro-tem handicap leader Mineshaft in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I) at Churchill Downs on June 14. He was in receipt of eight pounds that day and will get four pounds from Congaree in the Classic. Perfect Drift, a winner of seven of 15 starts overall, finished eighth in his last start, the Arlington Million (gr. IT). Pat Day, who has ridden Perfect Drift in his last three starts, will again be the rider. Day has won two previous runnings of the Classic.
Charles Cella's Crafty Shaw is coming in off back-to-back runner-up efforts in money-allowance races at Saratoga. The 5-year-old son of Crafty Prospector has won 10 of 28 career starts and has earned just under $650,000. He was fourth in the Stephen Foster earlier this year while under 113 pounds. One thing in his favor is the fact he's a perfect four-for-four at Turfway Park, but he's yet to test this caliber of competition before over the surface. Trainer Pete Vestal goes with jockey Shane Sellers.
Even the Score beat Crafty Shaw Aug. 10 at Saratoga. The Dallas Stewart-trained son of Unbridled's Song has yet to start over the track and three of his seven career wins have come on turf. However, he did work in 1:01 3/5 for this on Sept. 6 at Churchill Downs.
M B Sea was second in the West Virginia Governor's Handicap at Mountaineer Park in his last start on Aug. 9. Michael Bruder's 4-year-old colt is trained by Dale Romans.
Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II), $350,000, 1 1/8 miles, 3-year-olds and up, Turfway Park.
PP, Jockey, Wt., Odds
1, Even the Score, Robby Albarado, 115, 12-1
2, Crafty Shaw, Shane Sellers, 115, 8-1
3, Perfect Drift, Pat Day, 120, 6-5
4, Congaree, Edgar Prado, 124, 4-5
5, M B Sea, Cornelio Velasquez, 113, 12-1