Roses in May could be nicknamed Mr. October, trainer Dale Romans joked prior to the $350,000 Kentucky Cup Classic Handicap (gr. II). After he recorded his fifth straight victory this year in the easiest fashion possible Saturday at Turfway Park, the 4-year-old colt has risen to the top of the handicap division for the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I) at Lone Star Park Oct. 30.
After winning the Whitney Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga Aug. 7, there wasn't much to beat in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile event by comparison. But the way he did it was impressive while clocking 1:49 on a fast track.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Roses in May, on a tight hold, battled stride for stride on the outside of Pie N Burger for the lead through moderate fractions of :23 4/5, :47 2/5 and 1:11 3/5. With ears pricked, Roses in May increased the pace on the far turn as second choice Adreamisborn loomed into contention. Roses in May, sent off at odds of 3-10, opened up a wide advantage in the stretch and cruised home. He was ridden out past the wire for an additional furlong, which was designed to help Roses in May get a little more out of the race.
"Today went perfect," Velazquez said. "It was a little too slow for him. But when I let him go, he responded right away.
"I did it the way (Romans) wanted me to do it and he did it very easily."
Pie N Burger held for second, four lengths behind the winner, with Sonic West and Pat Day coming on for third, three-quarters of a length behind the runner-up and a neck better than fourth-place finisher Country Be Gold.
After making his move on the turn for Russell Baze, Adreamisborn, winner of the Longacres Mile (gr. IIIT) in his last start Aug. 22, flattened out in the stretch and finished fifth, a head behind Country Be Gold.
The winner paid $2.60, $2.19 and $2.10. Pie N Burger, who was seeking his fourth win in his last five starts, returned $3.20 and $2.10. Sonic West's show was $2.10.
Roses in May, undefeated in 2004 for owner Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, is Breeders' Cup bound after his third consecutive graded stakes victory. He will go into the Classic having never tried the 10-furlong distance.
The lightly-raced 4-year-old colt by Devil His Due
–Tell a Secret (Speak John) has seven wins and a pair of seconds in 10 starts. The winner's share of $221,500 increased his overall earnings to $995,187.
Margaux Farm in Kentucky bred Roses in May, a $115,000 Ocala purchase in April 2002.