The $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT), the feature of Kentucky Downs’ four-day live meet, drew a full field of 12, including defending titleholder Rumor Has It and grade I winner Cloudy's Knight.
The 1 1/2 mile Kentucky Cup Turf, which will be held over the Franklin, Ky., racetrack’s European style turf course, is the last of three stakes on the opening day card. Also on the docket are the Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf and Kentucky Cup Dash, both worth $50,000.
An 8-year-old son of Awesome Again
--Garden Secrets, by Time for a Change, Rumor Has It pulled a 59-1 shocker in last year's Kentucky Cup when going wire-to-wire under Eduardo Perez. The upset broke a 10-race losing streak for the David Hinsley trainee.
Rumor Has It has returned to win a pair of stakes this season at Arlington Park, including the Rossi Gold on Aug. 1 when he again led from start to finish under Perez. The dark bay or brown gelding will come back on just 12 days rest, as he was fourth in the Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) Sept. 7 in Chicago.
Rumor Has It runs for owners/breeders James Glenn and William Patterson. Perez will be in the irons again.
Cloudy’s Knight, a 9-year-old gelded son of Lord Avie—Cloudy Spot, by Solar City, won Woodbine’s $2 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) in 2007 as part of his Canadian champion grass horse campaign. He also won the Fair Grounds Handicap (gr. IIIT) and the Sky Classic (Can-IIT) at Woodbine for trainer Frank Kirby during that exceptional season.
But Cloudy’s Knight, who was bred in Kentucky by Jerrold Schwartz, has not won since the Canadian International. He was winless in three starts in 2008 and will be making his seasonal debut while coming off a full one-year layoff. He will also be making his first start for trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
An earner of more than $2 million from 36 lifetime starts, Cloudy’s Knight will break from post 8 and Rosemary Homeister Jr. will have the mount for the first time.
Augustin Stable’s 4-year-old Deal Making
is graded stakes-placed twice in his nine-start career, having finished third in both the National Museum of Racing Hall of Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga and the Bryan Station (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland last season. His lone blacktype victory came in the Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park last July.
Trained by Graham Motion, Deal Making was eighth in his most recent start, the Aug. 28 Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga. It was just the second start of 2009 for the Pennsylvania-bred son of Empire Maker. Brian Blanc will ride from post 12.
, a former Motion trainee, is also in the mix. Now owned and trained by Ernest Oare, the 6-year-old son of Cozzene
is winless in four starts this year. He won the Sussex Stakes at Delaware in 2008 and the Presque Isle Mile in 2007. Overall, the gray or roan gelding has produced a 5-4-2 record from 20 starts.
Back for another try in the Kentucky Cup is Fritz McTarnahan’s My Happiness
, third in this event a year ago. Bred in Argentina, 8-year-old My Happiness is winless in seven starts in 2009, but was beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by the highly-regarded Just as Well in the grade III Arlington Handicap in July and 1 1/2 lengths by Rumor Has It last out in the Rossi Gold. He is seeking his first victory on American soil. Calvin Borel will be in the irons.
There were also three also eligibles drawn. Post time is set for 5:02 p.m. EDT.
$150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT, Race 13, 5:02 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Palace Episode (KY), L Melancon, 116, A McKeever
2. Timeless Fashion (KY), J Lopez, 116 T Drury Jr.
3. Guadalcanal (FL), F J Seitz, 116, No rider
4. Rumor Has It (KY), E Perez, 116, D H Hinsley
5. My Happiness (ARG), C H Borel, 116, B C Barnett
6. Independent George (KY), T Foley, 116, E M Oare
7. Silver Mountain (KY), A Arguello Jr., 116, T F Proctor
8. Cloudy's Knight (KY), R B Homeister Jr., 116, J E Sheppard
9. Rogue Victory (KY), E T Baird, 116, G Weaver
10. Rezif (KY), J L Calo, 116, C Vecchio
11. Southwest (VA), M Mena, 116, R Jenkins
12. Deal Making (PA), B Blanc, 116, H G Motion
13 Jamaludin (KY), O Mojica, 116, M J Maker
14 Sunshine Kid (KY), J Sanchez, 116, T E Hamm
15 Classic Bridges (KY), J C Enriquez, 112, F H Parker