S J Stables’ 9-year-old gelding Cloudy's Knight felt no effects of a more than one year layoff, as he took over in upper stretch and cruised to a comfortable 2 1/2-length win in the $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf (gr. IIIT) Sept. 19 at Kentucky Downs.
A winner of three graded stakes in 2007 including the grade I Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine, Cloudy’s Knight went winless in four starts last year and was shut down after finishing eighth in the Northern Dancer (Can-I) last September and suffering a tendon injury. The son of Lord Avie, making his first start for Jonathan Sheppard, has earned more than $2 million and notched his sixth stakes victory.
Guadalcanal, best known for an unexpected start in the 2008 Belmont Stakes (gr. I), set the pace in the 1 1/2-mile contest, and the Graeme Hall gelding took the field of 10 around the turf course for more than 1 1/4 miles under Dean Mernagh. Stalking the pace was Rumor Has It, while Independent George was third. Rosemary Homeister Jr., never let Cloudy’s Knight get too far back though, as they raced for mid-pack much of the way and moved into striking position on the second turn.
Cloudy’s Knight finally took over from a tiring Guadalcanal nearing the three-sixteenths-pole while splitting rivals. The chestnut had a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to run and was never threatened in the stretch. Longshot Rezif finished well for runner-up, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Silver Mountain. The final time over a turf course labeled “good” was 2:33.96.
Cloudy’s Knight, who was bred in Kentucky by his owner, Jerrold Schwartz, and is out of the Solar City mare Cloudy Spot, garnered his 11th win in 37 lifetime starts. The $88,350 winner’s share bumped his earnings to $2,180,626. He was previously trained by Frank Kirby.
The winner paid $12.20, $3.40, and $2.60. The exacta (8-10) with 33-1 Rezif returned $502.40, while the trifecta (8-10-7) was a whopping $12,443.40.
Deal Making, the 5-2 favorite, was fourth.
Sheppard, a Hall of Famer, earned his third Kentucky Cup Turf victory.