Kentucky Downs will begin its lucrative five-day, all-turf meet Sept. 3 with four stakes—two of them for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs—worth a total of $1.4 million. The 10-race card saw 136 horses make the overnight.
Kentucky Downs will have the highest daily average purses in North America at roughly $1.56 million per program for a total of more than $7.5 million. After opening day, racing will be held Sept. 8, 10, 11, and 15. Churchill Downs will begin its meet Sept. 16, so there will be no overlap in dates this year.
A major draw at the track on the Tennessee border is maiden special weight events that carry a purse of $130,000—for Kentucky-bred runners—up $10,000 from 2015. Horses not bred in the state will race for $58,000 in maiden allowance races.
The $350,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile drew a field of 12, including JSM Equine's Ancient Warfare, a Quality Road colt trained by Mark Casse. In his lone start July 30, Ancient Warfare rallied from eighth early to win a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight test on grass at Saratoga Race Course by two lengths under Jose Lezcano, who is named to ride Saturday.
After two starts in the Southwest on dirt, undefeated Prados Way, owned by Kathryn East and trained by Steve Asmussen, will make his grass debut. The Tizway colt out of the El Prado mare Prado Lady won the Manzano Stakes last time out at the Downs at Albuquerque and will stretch out another furlong for the Kentucky Downs Juvenile.
A field of 12 with one on the also-eligible list was entered in the $350,000 Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies. Trainer Ben Colebrook holds a solid hand with two: Beverly Anderson and Edward Seltzer's Caroline Test, second in the Ellis Park Juvenile against males; and Katherine Ball's China Grove, a City Zip filly who already has raced in three stakes.
"We don''t know about the grass, but the family says she'll handle it no problem," Colebrook said of Caroline Test, a First Defence filly. "Her first race was supposed to on the turf, but they took it off and she ran so well that we tried her against the boys. I think she'll handle Kentucky Downs just fine."
China Grove returns from Saratoga after a troubled fourth-place finish in the Bolton Landing Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. It was the first grass outing for China Grove, who broke her maiden in her debut at Keeneland in April.
"We were experimenting to see if she liked the grass," Colebrook said. "(Jockey) Jose Ortiz loved the way she went on the turf, but she just didn't have very good racing luck. I don't think the seven-furlong distance is a problem."
The other two stakes, each worth $350,000, are the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf at one mile and the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs. First post time for opening day is 1:25 p.m. CDT.
Kentucky Downs, Saturday, September 03, 2016, Race 8
- 2 yo
- 5:28 PM (local)
|1||1Raising Rumors (TX)||Miguel Mena||122||Randy L. Morse||8/1|
|2||2Zunino (KY)||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||120||Michael Stidham||15/1|
|3||3Han Sense (IA)||Florent Geroux||122||Michael J. Maker||7/2|
|4||4Capt. Grider (KY)||Drayden Van Dyke||120||Dante Zanelli, Jr.||20/1|
|5||5Ancient Warfare (KY)||Jose Lezcano||120||Mark E. Casse||4/1|
|6||6Parlor (KY)||Declan Cannon||120||Eddie Kenneally||10/1|
|7||7Preemptive Strike (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||120||Ben Colebrook||12/1|
|8||8Hot Dad (KY)||Corey J. Lanerie||120||Michael J. Maker||15/1|
|9||9B Rod Maclean (KY)||Carlos Villasana||120||Tommy C. Short||8/1|
|10||10Prados Way (KY)||James Graham||122||Steven M. Asmussen||9/2|
|11||11Cold Snack Thirty (FL)||Megan Fadlovich||120||Tevis Q. McCauley||30/1|
|12||12All Right (KY)||Channing Hill||118||Kellyn Gorder||15/1|
Kentucky Downs, Saturday, September 03, 2016, Race 10
- 2 yo Fillies
- 6:31 PM (local)
|1||1Zyxyz (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||120||Joe Sharp||20/1|
|2||2Southern Sis (FL)||Jose Lezcano||120||Mark E. Casse||8/1|
|3||3Lady Hansen (KY)||Jesus Lopez Castanon||120||Michael J. Maker||10/1|
|4||4Maluku (KY)||Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.||120||Michael Stidham||12/1|
|5||5Safe With Me (KY)||Forest Boyce||120||H. Graham Motion||8/1|
|6||6Lull (KY)||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.||120||Christophe Clement||5/2|
|7||7Caroline Test (KY)||Florent Geroux||120||Ben Colebrook||10/1|
|8||8Macy's Attitude (KY)||Carlos Villasana||120||Tommy C. Short||50/1|
|9||9Royal Asscher (KY)||Chris Landeros||120||Mark E. Casse||20/1|
|10||10Forest Circle (KY)||Robby Albarado||120||Michael Stidham||6/1|
|11||11China Grove (KY)||James Graham||120||Ben Colebrook||9/2|
|12||12Grandma's Princess (TX)||Miguel Mena||122||Randy L. Morse||15/1|
|13||13Youngest Daughter (KY)||Drayden Van Dyke||118||Victoria H. Oliver||30/1|