Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Furthest Land, claimed for $35,000 less than a year ago, paid big dividends for his connections Sept. 26 as he ran down Dubious Miss in the final strides to win the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) (VIDEO) by a neck at Turfway Park.
Furthest Land, a 4-year-old gelding by Smart Strike, was ridden by top jockey Garrett Gomez, who made his rare visit to Turfway a successful one. Gomez, a two-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning rider, swept all three graded stakes on the card. He also won on Indescribable in the Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III) and was aboard El Brujo in the gelding’s Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) score.
Furthest Land raced in fifth through the backstretch of the 1 1/8-mile Classic while Timeless Fashion and Godolphin Gray battled up front through moderate splits of :24.31, :48.41, and 1:12.42. Dubious Miss, with jockey Calvin Borel aboard, received a picture-perfect stalking trip in third. It was approaching the far turn that Furthest Land moved into contention, as he gained ground from a four-wide position.
Dubious Miss, who was runner-up in the Washington Park Handicap (gr. III) at Arlington Park last out, took over at the top of the stretch and had plenty left for the final furlong. The 5-year-old gelding by E Dubai led deep inside the sixteenth-pole, but Furthest Land continued his pursuit from the outside and got up in the final strides for his first graded stakes victory. The final time over the Polytrack surface was 1:48.41.
Dubious Miss was 2 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Sligovitz. Odds-on favorite Hold Me Back, who won the Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway in March, was never a factor and finished sixth in a field of nine.
"He broke running and got a little aggressive on me, so I eased him back," Gomez said of the winner. "He was pulling hard so I thought he was telling me something. I took him four or five wide in the first turn and let him settle. I wasn’t worried about the top two. I had my eye on (Dubious Miss) and (Robby) Albarado’s horse (Wicked Style).
"Calvin’s horse came out a little but I got (Furthest Land) on his right lead and hit him twice left-handed. After that he straightened out nicely.”
Furthest Land was claimed on Oct. 24, 2008 by trainer Michael Maker for the Ramseys. He was previously owned by his breeder, Catherine Wills, and formerly trained by Christophe Clement. After being claimed, the dark bay won three straight in allowance and optional claiming company, then finished eighth in his graded stakes debut, the May 2 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) on Kentucky Derby day at Churchill Downs.
Two starts ago, Furthest Land won his first black-type event, the $75,000 Golden Bear Stakes at Indiana Downs. He set the one mile track record in that race, getting the distance in 1:40.80.
"When we got Garrett, my confidence skyrocketed," said Maker. "I loved his race on the Polytrack at Keeneland and we just haven’t had a chance to race on it since. I looked at the race and the favorite (Hold Me Back) had been racing against straight 3-year-olds and the only other horse I thought was Dubious Miss.
"I’d think we’d take a look at the (Breeders’ Cup) Dirt Mile (Nov. 7 at Santa Anita). The Fayette Stakes (Oct. 31 at Keeneland) looks like a logical next start (also).”
Now 7-2-1 from 15 starts, Furthest Land has earned $329,689. He is out of the Rahy mare Flagrant.
The winner paid $14.40, $6.60, and $3.80. The exacta (7-9) returned $69, and the trifecta (7-9-3) was $557.
Of Hold Me Back's poor effort, trainer Bill Mott said: “Not much explanation at this point. There wasn't anything obvious. He just never looked interested in the race. He was never really traveling well. I mean, he was never really into the bridle and going as good as you’d like. When (jockey Julien Leparoux) asked him, he was just empty. Julien said he just never felt like he had any horse."