Cal Nation seeks his first graded stakes win in the Kentucky Cup Sprint. <br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Cal Nation seeks his first graded stakes win in the Kentucky Cup Sprint.
Order This Photo

Coglianese Photos

Two Other Graded Races on Kentucky Cup Card

Four well-matched stakes worth $100,000 apiece precede main event at Turfway Park.

A well-matched stakes undercard featuring a pair of grade III events and two other races worth $100,000 apiece supports the WinStar Kentucky Cup in its return to Turfway Park Sept. 24 after a one-year absence. All of the stakes will be shown on TVG.

The undercard stakes, all carrying $100,000 in prize money, are to be contested in consecutive races over Turfway's Polytrack. They begin with the Tiznow Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, the sixth event on the program that attracted a field of 12 going one mile. Then comes the Bluegrass Cat Juvenile at 1 1/16 miles with a field of eight set to go. The Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III), with 11 3-year-old entrants vying at six furlongs is next, followed by the Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III) at 1 1/16 miles. It drew seven older fillies and mares.

WinStar Farm homebred Cal Nation, trained by Todd Pletcher, appears to have landed in a good spot for his first graded stakes win in the Kentucky Cup Sprint. The son of Distorted Humor  ran third in the Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) at Calder in early July and returned Aug. 6 to finish second in the Select Stakes at Monmouth Park in his most recent start. Worse than third just once in his six-race career, Cal Nation is to be ridden in his Polytrack debut by Jesus Castanon.

Also likely to get quite a bit of support in the Sprint is Free Entry, most recently second in Saratoga's Distorted Humor Stakes Sept. 2. Kent Desormeaux retains the mount on the son of Tale of the Cat  for trainer Ronald Moquett.

Lou Brissie, from the Mike Maker barn for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, attempts to halt a nine-race losing streak since the Limehouse  colt captured the Kentucky Juvenile (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in his second start in April 2010.

Song of Humor has won 10 of 15 lifetime races, mostly at minor tracks, and is two-for-two over Turfway's Polytrack for owner/trainer Milton Gaede.

In the Kentucky Cup Distaff, Upperline, trained by Mike Stidham for Stone Farm and partners, could go off favored. The 4-year-old daughter of Maria's Mon has three stakes wins to her credit this year and is coming off a respectable fifth at 41-1 in the Beverly D (gr. IT) at Arlington Park. Upperline is four-for-seven lifetime on synthetic tracks.

Others figuring to draw strong support are Ailalea, a dual grade III winner for Pletcher and owner Starlight Partners who makes her synthetic track debut; and Persuading, who posted two seconds and a third in graded stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park this season for trainer Dale Romans.

Carl Pollard's Kiss Mine delivered in the My Charmer Stakes on Turfway's Polytrack last December and the 5-year-old daughter of Mineshaft  is three-for-three at Turfway for trainer David Vance. She is a 10-time winner in 34 career starts.

“When she’s on her game, she wins,” said Vance. “I probably raced her a few times that I shouldn’t have, but it seems like she either gets it all or she doesn’t get any of it.”

La Gran Bailadora has also fared well at Turfway for Maker, winning three of five starts including the Likely Exchange Stakes in sharp fashion by 2 3/4 lengths Feb. 12.

In the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, Barry King's Flashy Lassie looks best for trainer Garry Simms off her win in the Debutante (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in June. That was followed by a fast-closing runner-up effort in the Mountaineer Park Juvenile Fillies as the 4-5 choice Aug. 6.

“It’s home, it’s a two-turn mile, and I want to see if she’ll stretch out,” said Simms. “If she runs real big, I might point her to the Breeders’ Cup.”

Off his 12 1/4-length debut romp over maidens for Maker at Turfway Sept. 9, Hansen will get plenty of attention in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Dr. Kendall Hansen bred and owns the nearly all white son of Tapit .

“We have high hopes for him,” Maker said. “The owner is local so we started him at Turfway with stakes in mind. We got a late start with him -- paperwork issues -- and we need to get some stakes earnings for him, so this is a good spot.”

Maker and Hansen, a Northern Kentucky physician, see Breeders’ Cup potential in the youngster.

“I was thinking Breeders’ Cup for this horse even before he ran,” Maker said.  “He’s had sensational workouts.  He’s a very gifted horse.”

Also in the field is Pryce's Posse, a five-time starter for trainer Tim Ice. He was most recently third in the one-mile Sunday Silence Stakes on turf at Louisiana Downs Sept. 10, but also has a win and a second on the Polytrack at Arlington Park.

$100,000 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:55 p.m.), 3YOs, 6 Furlongs (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Free Entry (VA),  K J Desormeaux, 118, R Moquett
2. Big Albert (KY), R Morales, 118, K Jarvis
3. Cal Nation (KY), J L Castanon, 118, T A Pletcher
4. Lou Brissie (KY), J K Court, 118, M J Maker
5. Will's Wildcat (KY), C H Borel, 118, J E Baker
6. Chilled (KY), C J Lanerie, 118, P J McGee
7. Unsaddled Glory (KY), M Pedroza, 118, E P Retamoza Sr.
8. Matthewsburg (KY), V Lebron, 118, M J Maker
9. Song of Humor (FL), Y Yaranga, 118, M M Gaede
10. Ronin Dax (KY), T J Thompson, 120, D R Vance
11. Philippe (KY), E S Prado, 118, J E Baker
Blinkers On: Ronin Dax

$100,000 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 5:30 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/6 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. La Gran Bailadora (KY), C J Lanerie, 120, M J Maker
2. High Quality (KY), B J Hernandez Jr., 116, P J McGee
3. Kiss Mine (KY), T J Thompson, 120, D R Vance
4. Bella Medaglia (KY), J Theriot, 118, W B Calhoun
5. Upperline (KY), J Talamo, 120, M Stidham
6. Persuading (KY), J L Castanon, 118, D L Romans
7. Ailalea (KY), E S Prado, 116, T A Pletcher