In a span just over a half-hour, trainer Mike Maker and jockey Victor Lebron teamed up to win a pair of Kentucky Cup races with flare.
Dr. Kendall Hansen’s homebred Hansen was the first to make it to the Turfway Park winner’s circle Sept. 24, romping by 13 1/4 eye-opening lengths in the $100,000 Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile (VIDEO) while likely earning himself a chance in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I) on Nov. 5.
One race later Tom and Matt Conway’s Matthewsburg, sent off at 9-1, overtook the leaders in upper stretch and drew clear for a 2 1/4-length upset in the $100,000 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) (VIDEO).
The consecutive stakes wins earned Maker and Lebron their fourth victories on the Turfway card, as they also scored optional claimer and maiden special weight races earlier in the day. Maker later won the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III) with La Gran Bailadora to continue his torrid afternoon (VIDEO).
Hansen, a son of Tapit , was the most impressive winner on the day. One race after breaking his maiden by 12 1/4 lengths at Turfway, the gray/roan colt annihilated seven challengers in the 1 1/16-mile Kentucky Cup Juvenile, leading from gate to wire and covering the distance on Polytrack in 1:45.83 as the 1-2 choice.
Hansen, out of the Sir Cat mare Stormy Sunday, certainly has the looks of a star.
“He's one of the best horses I've ever ridden,” Lebron said.
Maker said Hansen will be pointed toward BC Juvenile and will not run again beforehand at Keeneland in the Breeders' Futurity (gr. I).
“He's the horse of a lifetime,” owner-breeder Hansen said. “He has done everything he has been asked. After his first race, he wasn't even breathing.”
Hansen paid $3, $2.40, and $2.40. Fine finished second under Jamie Theriot, followed by Downtown Driggs.
In the Kentucky Cup Sprint for 3-year-olds going six furlongs on the main track, Matthewsburg overcame a slow start and a wide trip to earn his first graded win. Eighth in a field of 11 after a quarter-mile, the son of Ghostzapper made his winning move on the turn, took over from Philippe and Will's Wildcat approaching the eighth-pole, and sped away in the stretch.
Matthewsburg, bred in Kentucky by Adena Springs and out of the A.P. Indy mare Romantic Comedy, covered the distance in 1:10.28. He improved to 3-1-0 from 10 starts and upped his earnings to $123,609.
Philippe held on for second under Edgar Prado, a head in front of Will’s Wildcat. Favored Cal Nation broke last and finished sixth.
"I had a perfect trip," Lebron said. "I rode this horse in his maiden and at Penn National, where he ran second, so I know him pretty well. He drew off and won pretty easy. He tries to get out a little bit so I let him do what he wants and not take too much of a hold."
Matthewsburg was purchased by Tom Conway for $95,000 at the Adena Springs sale of 2-year-olds in training.
He paid $20.60, $9.60, and $5.40. The exacta (8-11) returned $114.40 and the trifecta (8-11-5) was worth $577.20.