Fresh off a victory in the Sept. 3 Tom Ridge Labor Day Stakes over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs, Tom Walters’ Elite Squadron heads a field of 11 3-year-olds in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at Turfway.
A son of Officer, Elite Squadron carries the six-furlong event's high weight of 122 pounds under jockey Calvin Borel. With just six starts under his belt for trainer James Baker, the Kentucky-bred colt looks to improve his career record of three wins and earnings of $124,903.
Up to challenge Elite Squadron is the Patrick Biancone-trained Paulliac, a $1-million graduate of Keeneland’s 2005 September yearling sale. Owned by Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, the son of Mr. Greeley broke his maiden first time out over the Polytrack at Keeneland in April. His last start, however, was a ninth-place finish in the Aug. 25 King’s Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga.
Coming off a poor dirt performance but a fan of the Polytrack is seasoned runner Stormin Baghdad. The Helen Pitts-trained son of Stormin Fever was a distant seventh in his last start, the May 15 Hirsch Jacobs (gr. III) at Pimlico. Still, he has three wins and three seconds from nine career starts, with all his victories on synthetic surfaces.
Also worth noting is the four-race winning streak of Appealing Spring, a Kelly Breen-trained son of Successful Appeal . The former claimer has never run off the dirt but has been unbeaten since June and never finished worse than fourth in six career starts. He last won the Bergen County Stakes at the Meadowlands.
$100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III, race 7, 4:10 p.m.), 6 furlongs (Polytrack), 3-year-olds
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight,
1. My Private Lake, Thomas Pompell, 118
2. Appealing Spring, Dylan Williams, 118
3. Stormin Baghdad, Terry Thompson, 118
4. Shore, Larry Sterling, Jr., 118
5. Fate Takes a Hand, Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr., 118
6. Elite Squadron, Calvin Borel, 122
7. Norjac, Mario Pino, 118
8. Piratesonthelake, Diego Sanchez, 118
9. Pauillac, Julien Leparoux, 120
10. Base Commander, Christopher DeCarlo, 118
11. Sir Five Star, Willie Martinez, 118