Street Sense

Street Sense

Skip Dickstein

Street Sense Tunes Up for Kentucky Cup Classic

James Tafel’s Street Sense, winner of this year's Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), tuned up for a run in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) with a five furlong work Sept. 25.

James Tafel’s Street Sense, winner of the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Saratoga’s Travers Stakes (gr. I), tuned up for a run in the Sept. 29 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park with a five furlong work Sept. 25 at Churchill Downs. 

Jockey Calvin Borel was in the saddle as the 3-year-old Street Cry colt covered the distance over a fast track in 1:01.80. The move was the seventh-fastest of 29 at the distance. The Carl Nafzger trainee covered the distance in fractions of :13.80, :26, :38.20 and :49.20. He galloped out six furlongs in 1:14.20.

Both Borel and Nafzger were happy with the work, which was the Kentucky Derby winner’s final major training move in preparation for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race over the Polytrack surface at Turfway Park. The race at the Florence, Ky. track will serve as his final prep for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27.

“He worked good,” said Borel.  “That’s what Carl wanted – 1:01 and change.  He settled down right, galloped out good and he’s sharp and ready to roll. He’s matured a lot; he’s just blossoming out and is more focused. He’s doing it the right way – he’s doing it like I want him to. Carl has kept him sound and kept him happy, and that’s the main thing. We got a good work in him the other day and just wanted something (this morning) to put a little air in him.  So we did, and he’s ready.”

The Kentucky Cup Classic will provide a rare post-Triple Crown match of the top two finishers from this year’s Kentucky Derby as Street Sense will again tackle Derby runner-up Hard Spun, winner of the King’s Bishop (gr. I) at Saratoga in his most recent start.  Fox Hill Farm’s speedy son of Danzig won the $500,000 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) over the Northern Kentucky track’s Polytrack oval in late March, and figures to be the horse to catch in a prospective field that could include as few as four starters. Both Nafzger and Borel acknowledge the threat posed by a horse with such talent and speed – and know that the Kentucky Derby winner could be forced to change his usual late-running tactics in Saturday’s meeting with Hard Spun.

“Match races are won by speed horses,” said Nafzger.  “I want to win every time I go over there, and I want to win this because my cowboy buddy (J. Larry Jones) trains the other one.” 

“We’ve been working on that the last couple of races, as we’ve been keeping him a little closer,” Borel said. “But Street Sense is the kind of horse that you can’t take him too much out of his game early, because I don’t know if he’ll finish. But the last two races, he finished like I thought he would.”

Street Sense will bring a career record of 6-3-2 in 11 races and earnings of $4,058,200 into the Kentucky Cup Classic.

Also working for Nafzger Sept. 25 was Bentley Smith’s Lady Joanne, winner of the Alabama (gr. I) at Saratoga and last fall’s Golden Rod (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. She breezed a sharp five furlongs in :59.80, the fastest move of the day at the distance.

“She’s doing awesome,” said Borel.  “She’s turned around like night and day.  She’s doing better and better.”

Nafzger is pointing Lady Joanne toward the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinster (gr. I) at Keeneland Oct. 7. The 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares ages 3-years-old and up will serve as her final prep for the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I).

“I’m ready for the Spinster,” said Nafzger. “She’s doing great. She’s really a race mare, but she’s got to step up, too. Lady Joanne is just a tremendous filly. Look at her record – she’s never been off the board.”

Lady Joanne has a career slate of 6-1-2 in nine races with earnings of $771,834.