Team Block's homebred Ioya Bigtime took the lead soon after the start of Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup and never looked back when scoring by a half-length under jockey Jeffrey Sanchez. The bay five-year-old was exiting a runner-up effort in the inaugural American St. Leger at Arlington Park on August 18, but got back on the winning track here when completing 1 1/2 miles on the firm Kentucky Downs turf in 2:30.
Ioya Bigtime set splits of :50, 1:18 1/5 and 1:40 2/5 while tracked by 7-5 favorite and defending champion Rahystrada throughout. In the lane, Corey Lanerie set Rahystrada down for the drive, but Ioya Bigtime dug in to take the victory and return $6.40, $3.20 and $2.40 as the 2-1 second choice.
Rahystrada just held second by a head over Kindergarden Kid, who rallied up the rail. It was another three-quarters length back to Tahoe Lake, who had trailed in last up until the stretch, with Lake Drop completing the order of finish. Canaveral, Cozy Kitten and Rezif were all scratched.
Ioya Bigtime just recorded his first stakes win in mid-July when taking the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes at Arlington. The Illinois-bred son of Dynaformer made his black-type debut in the Grade 2 Fayette at Keeneland last fall, finishing second on that day, and opened 2012 with a pair of fourth-place finishes in the John B. Connally Turf Cup and Fair Grounds Handicap, both Grade 3 events.
Following a well-beaten sixth in the Grade 3 Ben Ali back at Keeneland, Ioya Bigtime took up residence back in the shedrow of Chris Block to begin his summer campaign. Unplaced efforts in a pair of Arlington stakes preceded the Stars and Stripes, but this one helped boost Ioya Bigtime's career record to 17-6-2-3, $447,225.
Ioya Bigtime is a three-quarter brother to a former Team Block stand-out, Grade 2-winning millionaire Mystery Giver, also by Dynaformer. Ioya Bigtime's dam, Ioya Two, scored her signature win in the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap in 2001, and the daughter of Lord at War has also produced Grade 3 hero Amazing Results, who ran second in the Kentucky Cup Turf Dash in 2010, as well as stakes-placed Mavericking.