Seeking to regain this spring's winning form for trainer Jamie Sanders, the 3-year-old Teuflesberg takes on older rivals for the first time in the Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III) Sept. 8.
The one-mile Polytrack event, the featured race on the opening weekend of Turfway's fall meeting, attracted a field of eight.
On a three-race losing streak, Teuflesberg comes into the Fall Championship after a non-threatening fourth-place finish in the seven-furlong King's Bishop (gr. I) for 3-year-olds at Saratoga Aug. 25. Expected to race close to the leaders, Teuflesberg fell well off the early pace instead. The son of Johannesburg never got involved, finishing more than six lengths behind the winning Hard Spun.
The bay colt took the Woody Stephens Stakes (gr. II) at Belmont June 9 and followed up that performance with a pair of seconds in the Carry Back Stakes (gr. II) at Calder one month later and the Glow Stakes in his turf debut at Saratoga Aug. 4.
Earlier in the spring, Teuflesberg won Oaklawn's Southwest Stakes and finished fourth, beaten by only a neck, in the Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) on Keeneland's Polytrack. That preceded a 17th-place showing in the Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
The Fall Championship would be the 21st start of Teuflesberg's career. Only two others in the race have started more often — Spotsgone and Desert Wheat. Teuflesberg has five lifetime victories for earnings of $621,981 — more than any of his rivals — for owners Sanders, Gary Logsdon, Jeff Singer and Donnie Kelly.
Regular rider Robby Albarado will be aboard Teuflesberg, who starts from the far outside and carries a light impost of 116 pounds.
The Fall Championship marks the return to action of the 4-year-old Cielo Gold, who has not been seen since winning the Indiana Derby (gr. II) by five lengths last October. Hal Wiggins trains the Conquistador Cielo colt for Hillcrest Farms Racing. Brian Hernandez Jr., who rode the dark bay in the Indiana Derby, retains the mount.
The 122-pound high weights are the 4-year-old colt Spotsgone, trained by William Fires, and the 6-year-old horse Gouldings Green, conditioned by Anthony Reinstedler. Both are coming off stakes wins.
Eugene Melnyk's Gouldings Green won the Seagram Cup (Can-III) by two lengths at Woodbine July 29. Jesus Castanon rides the son of Charismatic, a winner of nine of his 19 lifetime starts and earnings of $604,246.
Regular jockey Earlie Fires will be aboard Robert Yagos' Spotsgone, who was all out to win the Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap by a desperate head on a yielding Arlington Park turf course Aug. 11. The son of Bright Launch has earned $323,242 in his career.
Trainer Bill Mott entered two into the Fall Championship, and both are coming off minor stakes wins. The 4-year-old Desert Wheat won the restricted Shiskabob for Louisiana-breds by a nose as the 3-2 favorite at Louisiana Downs July 21. The 5-year-old Istan was a 4 1/2-length victor in Ellis Park's Governor's Handicap, also as the favorite, Aug. 11.
$100,000 Turfway Park Fall Championship Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 4:57 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 Mile (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Istan (KY), 120, Larry Melancon
2. Desert Wheat (LA), 120, James Lopez
3. Cielo Gold (KY), 118, Brian J. Hernandez, Jr.
4. Spotsgone (KY), 122, Earlie Fires
5. High Blues (KY), 116, Larry J. Sterling, Jr.
6. Barbican (KY), 116, Willie Martinez
7. Gouldings Green (KY), 122, Jesus Lopez Castanon
8. Teuflesberg (KY), 116, Robby Albarado