Both 3-year-olds will use the 1 1/8-mile race on Polytrack as a prep for the $5-million Breeders’ Cup Classic – Powered by Dodge (gr. I) at Monmouth Park Oct. 27. The two multiple graded stakes winners lead the list of 27 nominees for the Kentucky Cup Classic.
Street Sense, by Street Cry, out of Bedazzle, will be looking for his third consecutive victory after losing by a nose to Curlin in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I) May 19. The James Tafel homebred took a pair of graded stakes at Saratoga this summer: the $500,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) by a length-and-a-half July 29, and most recently, the $1-million Travers Stakes (gr. I) by a half-length Aug. 25.
Street Sense has never won on a synthetic surface. He finished third on the Keeneland Polytrack as a 2-year-old, then missed by a nose again at Keeneland in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) May 14. It doesn’t concern trainer Carl Nafzger.
“The biggest thing for us was to take the easiest route for the Breeders’ Cup,” said Nafger. “Not in terms of competition, but travel. We like that we can ship him up there in the morning and ship him home after the race.
“He made mistakes in both (Polytrack losses). He’s a different horse now. But I like what we did after both of those races on Polytrack (victories in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Kentucky Derby). The biggest thing is getting ready for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Street Sense, who worked five furlongs Sept. 19 at Churchill Downs in 1:00.60, has won six graded stakes and earned more than $4 million in his career.
Hard Spun has raced once over Polytrack, a 3 1/4-length victory in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) at Turfway March 24. After racing in all three legs of the Triple Crown, the son of Danzig-Turkish Tryst placed second in the $1-million Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) Aug. 5, and most recently won the seven-furlong Kings Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga by a length-and-a-half Aug. 25.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Michael Moran and Brushwood Stable, Hard Spun worked five furlongs in 1:01.40 at Delaware Park Sept. 17 for trainer Larry Jones. He has earned almost $1.4 million in 11 starts.
“We looked at the MassCap and a couple of others, but racing over Polytrack worked well for us before (the Kentucky Derby),” said Jones. “We’re going to try it again. Carl has had success on it in the past, so he’s going to stick with it, too. We just wish he did it at Keeneland.
“We have a lot to worry about in this race, not just Street Sense. But we’ll try to secure the rail and make him go around us again. We want to take the shortest distance possible.”
Nafzger also had a thought on seeing Jones for a third time this year: “He’s just like a cowboy. You can’t get rid of him.”
The Kentucky Cup Classic will be one of five stakes on Turfway’s Kentucky Cup Day of Champions card. Also included are the Kentucky Cup Distaff (gr. III), Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III), Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III), and Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Kentucky Cup Day of Champions has produced six Breeders’ Cup winners in its history.