Seeking the third graded stakes win of his career, 7-year-old Rahystrada headlines a field of 10 in the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) Sept. 10 on opening day of Kentucky Downs’ four-day stand.
Rahystrada will carry top weight of 120 pounds in the 1 1/2-mile turf race, which is the marquee event at the Franklin, Ky., track that kicks off its abbreviated all-turf meet on Saturday. Also on the seven-race card is the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf, which comes directly before the 3:21 p.m. CDT feature.
Robert E. Courtney Jr.’s Rahystrada is in search of his second victory in seven starts this season. The gelded son of Rahy won the Colonial Turf Cup Stakes two starts back on June 18 at Colonial Downs, and most recently ran an even fifth in the Aug. 12 Arlington Million (gr. IT). The Byron Hughes trainee also missed by a neck in the Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. IIIT) earlier this year.
An earner of $852,624 from 33 starts, his biggest wins came in the 2009 River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs and 2010 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT). Greta Kuntzweiler will have the mount for the first time.
The defending titleholder is also back for another crack chance. Rezif, a 6-year-old gelding co-owned and trained by Matthew Jacobson, romped by 6 1/4 lengths in last year’s Kentucky Cup Turf, ironically under the handling of Kuntzweiler at odds of 18-1. The son of Distant View has not been back to the winner’s circle since, his best finish in four 2011 starts coming in April at Keeneland when third in an allowance contest.
A winner in five of 22 career starts, Rezif will be ridden by Victor Lebron this time. They will break from post 10.
Running as a bit of an unknown is Harrods Creek, who ships in from Churchill Downs for Bill Mott. The 4-year-old Langfuhr colt destroyed an allowance field on the Gulfstream Park dirt back in January, going wire-to-wire for a 6 1/4-length win at 1 1/4 miles, but has not been to the starting gate since. He has been working steadily at Churchill for Mott and will look for his first win on turf since breaking his maiden at Ellis Park 12 months ago. Jon Court has the mount.
A horse that may fit well with this group is Brazilian-bred Odds On, who was runner-up in a nine-furlong optional claimer on the Saratoga dirt Aug. 22. Prior to that, the 5-year-old horse won an allowance race on the Churchill dirt for trainer Ken McPeek, who has assigned Corey Lanerie to ride.
Other contenders include Formaggio, an optional claiming winner for trainer David Carroll last out at Ellis Park, and Rules of Honor, who makes his first start for Mike Maker after finishing third last out in a Mountaineer stakes last month.
$150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT, Race 6, 3:21 p.m.), 3YO and Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Harrods Creek (KY), J K Court, 116, W I Mott
2. Formaggio (KY), S Bridgmohan, 116, D M Carroll
3. Getta Rhythm (KY), M Guidry, 116, M A Kendrick
4. Odds On (BRZ), C J Lanerie, 116, K G McPeek
5. Silver Mountain (KY), E Wilkinson, 116, G S Bennett
6. Rahystrada (KY), G Kuntzweiler, 120, B G Hughes
7. Rules of Honor (ON), R Albarado, 116, M J Maker
8. Lemonade Kid (IL), 116, A Mitchell, No Rider
9. Miami Deco (ON), J Sanchez, 116, B A Lynch
10. Rezif (KY), V Lebron, 116, M Jacobson