Turfway Park Race Report: All Aboard (continued)

Continued from part 1

WINTER WARNING

If the 1998 Classic that resulted in a dead heat of Silver Charm and Wild Rush ranks as the all-time Kentucky Cup "fantastic finish," this year's $147,500 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. II) is a close second. Despite a pair of scratches that reduced the field of 3-year-olds to a mere five, the 8,911 on hand were treated to six furlongs full of speed, determination, and grit.

The pacesetting Snow Ridge, passed in the stretch by 3-5 favorite City Zip, came back along the rail to pull off the thrilling upset ... but it wasn't unprecedented. It's the kind of effort Kentucky horsemen have come to expect from Pat Day, and the kind O'Callaghan would fret over a half-hour later.

Hustled to the front under Day from the get-go, Snow Ridge was tested through early splits of :21.54 and :44.75 by Wild Hits. City Zip was held up in third while racing wide. As Wild Hits wilted, City Zip ranged up on the turn, collaring Snow Ridge at the top of the lane. Just when nearly everyone in the house expected City Zip to pull away, Day and Snow Ridge fought back. They stuck their neck in front at the line in 1:09.22. Dream Run was 5 1/4 lengths behind City Zip in third.

"I thought I had him bested," said losing rider Jose Ferrer Jr. "That doesn't happen with this horse very often." City Zip's trainer, Linda Rice, was less than amused. "Jose had never taken a hold of this horse before. He got farther back than he anticipated, and it cost us the race."

Winning trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who notched a record 11th Kentucky Cup Day win in the Sprint, also was not amused--he expected the victory. "I thought Pat put in an excellent ride, absolutely super. He has now figured out what he can do and what he can't do. I said to Pat, 'You were confident in the last 100 yards.' And he said, 'I had that one.' We just beat a very, very good horse in City Zip."

Bred by Greg Goodman's Mt. Brilliant Farm, Snow Ridge is owned by W.T. Young's Overbrook Farm, who co-bred, co-raced, and stood his sire, Tabasco Cat. Tabasco Cat, winner of the Preakness and Belmont (both grade I) in 1994, now stands in Japan.

"Tabasco Cat was a talented horse," Lukas said. "We might have given up on him early (as a stallion). He was relegated to the second level. Now he's getting stakes winners everywhere--he's getting some recognition."


FLYING FILLIES

Both Trip and Playing 'n Gold humbled their fields in the Turfway Park Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) and Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies Stakes, respectively.

For Trip, it was her second consecutive stakes win at Turfway and a career effort to date, defeating a top-class distaff field by three lengths. Trip, a Claiborne Farm homebred, "performed at her best today," according to trainer Frank Brothers. It couldn't have come at a more opportune time for Claiborne, as the farm announced earlier in the week it would cease using Kentucky as its racing base (see page 5447). Stalking a solid pace, jockey Craig Perret looped the early leaders on the turn and cruised home, getting the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.47. Precious Feather, the longest price on the board, rallied for second, with defending winner Spain finishing third after a wide trip. Expect Spain to train on and attempt a title defense in the Breeders' Cup Distaff
(gr. I).

Playing 'n Gold, the lone winning favorite on the stakes card, won by the largest margin of the day, getting her mile in 1:37.29 while wiring the field comfortably by 5 1/2 lengths.

Playing 'n Gold was purchased for $87,000 out of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s February 2-year-old auction by trainer Bob Holthus for owners Kenneth English and Alan Braun of Evansville, Ind. The owner combo struck early in their Thoroughbred ownership career with grade II-placed Lily O'Gold. The Walmac International Alcibiades Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland will be the next test for the daughter of Honour and Glory.


McPEEK AT THE FUTURE

Trainer Ken McPeek has a knack of recruiting solid 2-year-old talent. He won the '94 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) with Tejano Run. He saddled Deputy Warlock to win the 1999 Miller Genuine Draft Cradle Stakes at River Downs. And he's got another good one this year in Feye Bach's Select Stable's Repent. McPeek went to $230,000 to purchase the son of Louis Quatorze at last year's Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale, "the most expensive horse anybody has ever let me purchase."

Coming from next to last in the early going during the 1 1/16-mile $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile, Repent ran down French Assault to win going away by 1 1/2 lengths. It was another eight lengths back to Gold Dollar. Under Tony D'Amico, Repent got the trip in 1:43.78.

A maiden winner at a mile on Sept. 7, McPeek "didn't want to overdo it with Repent. All week I had asked everybody in the barn if I should run him. They all said, 'Run him, boss.' My crew knows this horse.

"He could be very, very good. I think he's in the same league as Tejano Run," who ran second in the 1995 Kentucky Derby (gr. I).

Bach and her husband, Jerry, live in the nearby Cincinnati suburb of Indian Hills. Jerry Bach was lured to the business by his late father, Paul. "If it wasn't for my dad, I wouldn't be involved with horses. I owe it all to him. He had a nice family business and sold it and it gave us the financials to own horses. My wife thinks they are expensive, but today she's thrilled. She's back in the Derby hunt."

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