For the second consecutive year Greta Kuntzweiler was aboard the decisive winner of the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT), this time guiding odds-on favorite Rahystrada to a 3 3/4-length victory Sept. 10 at Kentucky Downs.
Rahystrada had never run 1 1/2 miles before, but that did not stop bettors from sending him off as the 4-5 choice in a field of 10. The 7-year-old son of Rahy took over at the top of the lane and never looked back for the third graded stakes win of his career, completing the distance over the firm turf in 2:32.40.
Byron “Scooter” Hughes trains Rahystrada for Robert Courtney Jr. Kuntzweiler, riding the chestnut for the first time, won this race a year ago with Rezif, who finished seventh this time.
The Kentucky Cup Turf is the marquee race at Kentucky Downs, which opened its four-day meet on Sept. 10 in Franklin, Ky.
The race was marred by the breakdown of the David Carroll-trained Formaggio, who fell on the down slope of the European-style turf course with about five furlongs left to run. The 4-year-old Dynaformer colt threw rider Shaun Bridgmohan during his fall, which Carroll said likely occured when he stepped in a hole.
After the race, Carroll told The Blood-Horse Bridgmohan was walking but in significant pain, mainly in his back, shoulder, and mouth area. He said the rider, who was transported to an area hospital, would need to have dental work done. Carroll said Formaggio walked off on his own but had "lacerations from head to toe and was pretty beat up." He said the colt did not appear to have any life- or career-threatening injuries.
Harrods Creek, making his first start for Bill Mott since January, set the pace and took the field around one mile in 1:41.68 with several horses including Getta Rhythm, Formaggio, Rules of Honor, Silver Mountain, and Rahystrada staying close to the leader. Rahystrada took over with about a quarter-mile remaining and opened up a clear lead en route to his convincing win.
Brazilian-bred Odds On closed late under Corey Lanerie to finish second by a head over Miami Deco and Oriana Rossi. Rules of Honor was fourth.
"He had never been a mile and half before and it was a different kind of track, but we train him on a field like this," Hughes said of Rahystrada. "It worked out well. Greta got him in a good spot, and he just galloped home."
Hughes said Rahystrada would probably make his next start at Keeneland.
Rahystrada won for the second time in five starts this year, his other triumph coming in the Colonial Turf Cup in June. Overall, he made the winner’s circle for the 12th time in 34 starts and upped his earnings to $941,904. His biggest previous wins came in the 2009 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs and 2010 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT).
Rahystrada was bred in Kentucky by Jaime S. Carrion, Trustee. He is out of the Deputy Minister mare Ministrada.
The winner paid $3.80, $2.40, and $2.60. The $2 exacta (6-4) returned $32.80 and the $2 trifecta (6-4-9) was worth $370.60.