The last time Golden Missile raced in Kentucky, he came away with a 2 3/4-length victory in June's Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. II) over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs. On Saturday, the 5-year-old son of A.P. Indy will face five rivals as the 121-pound highweight in the $500,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II) at Turfway Park. Golden Missile finished a troubled fifth -- 13 lengths behind Lemon Drop Kid -- in his most recent start, the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Cat Thief finished third in last year's Kentucky Cup Classic, before winning the Breeders' Cup Classic in his next start. The 4-year-old Storm Cat colt is winless since that victory, but did finish second in the Whitney in his most recent start. Cat Thief has finished on the board in 21 of 28 career starts, with 17 of those top three placings coming in graded stakes races.
Rize, the front-running nine-length winner of the Philip H. Iselin Handicap (gr. II) at Monmouth Park when last out, will likely set the early pace in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile race for 3-year-olds and up. The Monmouth track was playing to speed on Iselin day, though, while drying out after a mid-afternoon shower.
Early Pioneer and Captain Steve shipped in from the West Coast for the Kentucky Cup Classic. Early Pioneer won the Hollywood Gold Cup (gr. I) in his most recent start, but then missed his scheduled start in the Pacific Classic (gr. I) after missing some training time. Swaps Stakes (gr. I) winner Captain Steve is the lone 3-year-old in the field. The Bob Baffert trainee comes into the Kentucky Cup Classic after finishing second in the Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth Park. Shane Sellers has the mount on Saturday.
Both the Kentucky Cup Classic and Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. II) will be televised by ESPN2 as part of a one-hour broadcast. The broadcast, which also features the Woodward Stakes (gr. I) from Belmont Park, begins at 4:00 p.m. (EDT).
The field for the Kentucky Cup Classic -- with jockeys, weights, and morning-line odds -- will consist of:
1--Golden Missile, Kent Desormeaux, 121, 2-1
2--Cat Thief, Pat Day, 118, 7-2
3--Rize, Jose C. Ferrer, 116, 9-2
4--Early Pioneer, Robby Albarado, 120, 5-2
5--Captain Steve, Shane Sellers, 115, 4-1
6--Jadada, Francisco Torres, 112, 20-1