Talk about fast cash: Kentucky Downs' Sept. 9 program includes the $400,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3T) and $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes. Both are run at the specialty distance of 6 1/2 furlongs around one sweeping turn over the unique course near Franklin, Ky.
Past history suggests inside speed is the way to go at this trip, and of course experience over the layout is key in any turf event.
The big names in the Turf Sprint include Wes Welker and Elizabeth Kumin's group 1 winner Undrafted, the 7-year-old gelding trained by Wesley Ward. A seven-time winner of 31 starts, Undrafted advanced from mid-pack along the rail to finish a close-up fourth in this race last year and has kept top company since.
Hogy was beaten a neck in the race a year ago and has held sharp form throughout 2017, including a score in the Colonel Power Stakes going about 5 1/2 furlongs at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots in February over grade 2 winner Green Mask. In his last outing, Aug. 3 at Saratoga Race Course, the graded stakes winner was claimed by Michael Hui and trainer Mike Maker from William Stiritz and trainer Larry Rivelli for $80,000. Florent Geroux has the mount.
The Sprint also features Mary Schnelly's World Thoroughbreds Racing's Tell All You Know, a speedburner who will depart post 4. With Katie Clawson up, the 8-year-old was three lengths clear at Indiana Grand June 21 going five furlongs in an optional claiming event on the turf.
Whitham Thoroughbreds' Bondurant holds a class edge, but has been running at a mile or longer in all six starts this season. He's faced top runners such as Heart to Heart, Chocolate Ride, Kasaqui, and Disco Partner in stakes in Kentucky and New York.
The Ladies features several runners with back class at Kentucky Downs.
Jackpot Ranch and Mike Rutherford's Mississippi Delta earned $205,680 winning last year's event as the 3-2 favorite. The 5-year-old Giant's Causeway mare has drawn the rail here and has won twice in 2017, including a score in Belmont Park's Intercontinental Stakes (G3T) at seven panels.
Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider's Lull, a 3-year-old War Front filly, won last year's Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Stakes at Kentucky Downs under Brian Hernandez Jr. and returns to Kentucky off a second-place effort at Del Mar in the San Clemente Handicap (G2T) in late July. She'll break from post 5. To her immediate outside is G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Morticia, a Twirling Candy filly who topped Lull by a nose in Belmont's seven-furlong Soaring Softly Stakes May 20. She has won three straight races, with her most recent victory in the Coronation Cup Stakes at Saratoga Race Course July 31.
Robert Lothenbach's Scatter Gun is two-for-two at Kentucky Downs, winning at this distance last year in an entry-level allowance.