Kentucky Cup Card Promises Many Surprises

The 7-year-old gelding Perfect Drift, a winner of nearly $4.6 million, takes on Woodward (gr. I) winner Premium Tap and five others Saturday in the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic (gr. II) at Turfway Park.

A strong showing by the Murray Johnson-trained Perfect Drift could result in a record fifth opportunity for the Stonecrest Farm's color bearer in the Breeders' Cup Classic- Powered by Dodge (gr. I) on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs.

The race headlines a five-race stakes card that also includes the $175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup (gr. III) for fillies and mares, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) for 3-year-olds, the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III) and the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Perfect Drift, who will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, will attempt to snap a nine-race losing streak in his first attempt on Turfway's Polytrack surface. He won both the 2002 Lane's End and the 2003 Kentucky Cup Classic on Turfway's old dirt track.

The gelding is coming off a fourth-place finish in Del Mar's Pacific Classic (gr. I) last month.

Premium Tap (post 1), breaking from the rail, won the Woodward at Saratoga at odd of 31-1 earlier this month. He'll carry 124 pounds, six more the other horses in the race.

Trainer Al Stall reports that Classic starter Greeley's Galaxy is doing well. "He's had two sprints off a layoff," Stall said. "Those short races really put him on his toes. I think he'll be forwardly placed and fairly aggressive stretching out to a mile and an eighth, which is the distance he went to win the Illinois Derby (gr. I) last year."

Rafael Bejarano will ride Greeley's Galaxy, who is coming off a ninth place finish in the Forego (gr. I) at Saratoga and, before that, a sprint allowance victory at Churchill Downs. Although Greeley's Galaxy has not run on Polytrack, he is expected to train over the surface on Friday.

$350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Stakes (gr. II, Race 8, 4:42 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Premium Tap (KY), 124, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Good Reward (KY), 118, Mike E. Smith
3. Ball Four (KY), 118, Willie Martinez
4. It's No Joke (KY), 118, Jesus Lopez Castanon
5. Greeley's Galaxy (KY), 118, Rafael Bejarano
6. Alumni Hall (KY), 118, Calvin H. Borel
7. Perfect Drift (KY), 118, Julien R. Leparoux

$175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup
Splendid Blended's two grade I victories – the Hollywood Starlet and the Vanity Handicap – both came around two turns when she trained under Neil Drysdale, and current trainer Bill Mott sees a similar opportunity for her in the 1 1/16-mile Turfway Breeders' Cup.

"We thought it was worth a try," said Mott, who has otherwise entered the New York shipper only in sprints this year. "It will be an interesting test for her. She'll be going back to two turns and doing it on Polytrack. All this may be a little bit of a stretch for her."

Splendid Blended won the seven-furlong Shirley Jones Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park in March.

The opener of the stakes series Saturday, the event drew a full field of fillies and mares. The race attracted two other strong shippers, Prospective Saint and Stop a Train.

Winner of Ellis Park's Gardenia (gr. III) Aug. 5, the swift Prospective Saint returns to Kentucky from South Florida for trainer Marty Wolfson. Stop a Train was most recently second in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) for trainer Christine Janks.

La Reason, Beautiful Bets and Victoire Bataille all merit respect as well.

$175,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III, Race 6, 3:40 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/6 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Sister Star (KY), 116, Brice Blanc
2. Prospective Saint (KY), 122, Eddie Castro
3. La Reason (KY), 120, Rafael Bejarano
4. Victoire Bataille (KY), 118, John McKee
5. Tappin for Gold (KY), 116, Corey J. Lanerie
6. Pentelicus Dance (ECU), 116, Miguel Mena
7. Splendid Blended (FL), 116, Kent J. Desormeaux
8. Beautiful Bets (KY), 116, Willie Martinez
9. Island Escape (KY), 120, Jesus Lopez Castanon
10. Darluna (FL), 120, Rene R. Douglas
11. Soul Search (KY), 118, Calvin H. Borel
12. Stop a Train (IL), 116, Shaun Bridgmohan
Also Eligible
13. Slew Peg (KY), 112, Julien R. Leparoux

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint
A speed-laden field of 12 is set to contest the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (gr. III) at six furlongs.

The stalker Likely could benefit the most, as he showed the ability to come from just off the pace with his smashing nine-length win in Keeneland's Lafayette April 9.

Likely, trained by Patrick Biancone and to be ridden by Julien Leparoux, returned from a three-month layoff to finish second by a neck behind Sprint rival Cognac Kisses in a Turfway Park allowance race Sept. 10.

Ghosttrapper has distanced in his rivals in his last two starts while Island Warrior comes off a third-place finish behind the graded stakes-placed Latent Heat.

Trainer Scott Blasi, who took over the stable of Steve Asmussen while the latter serves a six-month ban for medication positives, will start two in the Sprint, Reigning Court and Right Place N Time.

"Anytime you step a horse up into a stakes for the first time it's going to be a test," Blasi said. "I'm anxious to run them. This is the time of year when they sort themselves out and it looks like we've got some talented horses with a lot of options in their future."

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:10 p.m.), 3-Year-Olds, 6 furlongs
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Four Sevens (KY), 120, Calvin H. Borel
2. Chief What It Is (KY), 120, Willie Martinez
3. Cognac Kisses (MD), 118, Eddie Castro
4. Reigning Court (KY), 118, Rene R. Douglas
5. Ghosttrapper (FL), 118, Miguel Mena
6. Hallowed Flag (KY), 118, John McKee
7. Lucky Savanah (KY), 118, Victor Lebron
8. Likely (FL), 122, Julien R. Leparoux
9. Changing Weather (FL), 122, Rafael Bejarano
10. Island Warrior (KY), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
11. Curtain Bluff (KY), 118, Jesus Lopez Castanon
12. Right Place N Time (KY), 118, Shaun Bridgmohan

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile
The question about Shermanesque, a son of Fusaichi Pegasus  and a half-brother to 1997 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) is how he'll handle the 1 1/6-mile distance of the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile (gr. III).

Second in the Bashford Manor (gr. III) and third in the Saratoga Special (gr. II), he's a clear standout in an overflow field of untried 2-year-olds.

Izzie's Halo, Shore and Hey Bill have shown some ability around two turns.

Ken McPeek will saddle Hey Bill, who ran second to Shore in a one-mile Turfway allowance, in the Juvenile.

"He's doing really good and is very solid," said McPeek. "He's acting like a professional, although we will add blinkers because he still needs a little more focus. This is a good two-turn colt with good experience to build on. He has room to improve but this is his chance to do that."

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Stakes (gr. III, Race 9, 5:12 p.m.), 2-Year-Olds, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Native Ruler (KY), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
2. Beta Capo (KY), 114, Calvin H. Borel
3. Indian Camp (NY), 114, Julien R. Leparoux
4. Kon Krete Kid (KY), 114, Eddie Castro
5. Out of the Skip (KY), 114, Edgar Paucar
6. Hey Bill (KY), 114, Larry Melancon
7. Shore (KY), 116, Willie Martinez
8. Shermanesque (KY), 114, Shaun Bridgmohan
9. Izzie's Halo (FL), 114, Miguel Mena
10. Nerve (FL), 114, Rene R. Douglas
11. Son of the West (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
12. U D Ghetto (KY), 114, Mike E. Smith
Also Eligible
13. Glamour Guy (FL), 114, Corey J. Lanerie
14. Starbase (FL), 114, John McKee

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies
The $2 million yearling filly Kauai Calls has won her two starts to date for Blasi, both at Saratoga. Despite inheriting the genes of her famously high strung sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, she has been training like a pro over Turfway's Polytrack for the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies.

"She's tactical and rated very nicely her first time out. It looks like she's versatile," said Blasi. "I saw some of the antics of her sire but so far she's been well mannered and given us no problems."

None of the fillies in the full field has placed in a stakes race, but Kauai Calls won her maiden debut by two lengths and followed that with a 1 1/4-length first-level allowance tally. Cherokee Sheik, second in that race, is also in the field.

$100,000 Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies (Race 10, 5:42 p.m.), 2-Year-Old Fillies, 1 Mile
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Cohiba Miss (KY), 116, Victor Lebron
2. Natalicat (KY), 114, Jesus Lopez Castanon
3. Whatdreamsrmadeof (NY), 114, Calvin H. Borel
4. Cozys Promise (KY), 114, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Laughwiththedevil (KY), 114, Willie Martinez
6. Kauai Calls (KY), 116, Julien R. Leparoux
7. Cherokee Sheik (KY), 114, Rafael Bejarano
8. Frisk Her (KY), 114, Joe Bravo
9. Fast Actress (KY), 114, Larry Melancon
10. Tough Apples (KY), 114, Eddie Castro
11. Lucky Approval (KY), 114, Miguel Mena
12. Expertise (KY), 114, Corey J. Lanerie
Also Eligible
13. Bad Annie (KY), 114, James Graham