Running on the same undulating turf course Sept. 9 over which he claimed a victory in the Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Derby Sept. 11 of last year, the 4-year-old full brother to grade 1 winner Oscar Performance won the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (G3T) by a determined head over 5-2 choice Postulation.
Oscar Nominated settled well in hand for Julien Leparoux in the early stages of the 1 1/2-mile race over firm turf, and was seventh as longshot One Go All Go took the field of 12 through fractions of :51.52, 1:18.10, and 1:46.89 for a mile. Still seventh with a quarter-mile to run, the son of Kitten's Joy swept into contention with a five-wide move, reeled in the leaders, and secured the score in the final yards.
The final time was 2:31.37.
"He's never had a bad day in his life," trainer Mike Maker said. "Unfortunately it's taken this long this year to get his first victory. We'll get through this and there are plenty of options."
The grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup marked a solid class drop for Oscar Nominated, who entered off a string of grade 1 losses. He was eighth in the Arlington Million XXXV Stakes (G1T) and seventh in the United Nations Stakes (G1T), but did turn in a solid third in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (G1T) back in May at Churchill Downs. He was cross-entered in the Sept. 7 Old Friends Stakes, but his connections opted to run in this spot and won the Old Friends with Sir Dudley Digges instead.
"We scratched him out of the race the other day because we thought he could win (the Kentucky Downs Turf Cup)," said Jeff Ramsey, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's son. "We knew he liked this course. He won here last year huge.
"Julien gave him a perfect ride. ... We thought he had him placed perfect, was patient with him and let him hang in there, but didn't let him get too far back."
Bred in Kentucky by Mrs. Jerry Amerman out of the Theatrical (IRE) mare Devine Actress, Oscar Nominated was claimed for $75,000 by the Ramseys from his breeder when he won a maiden claiming event in October of 2015 at Belmont Park. As a 3-year-old he stepped off the lawn to win the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) on Turfway Park's all weather track, which sent him on a trip to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (G1), where he ran 17th in his lone dirt start. Racing exclusively on turf since then, he has only found the winner's circle at Kentucky Downs, but has been competitive in graded stakes across the nation.
Off at odds of 7-2, Oscar Nominated returned $9.40, $4.20, and $3 and improved his record to 5-6-2 from 21 starts, with earnings of $1,168,155. Postulation paid $5 and $4, while Muqtaser—who just missed the runner-up spot in a blanket finish—brought $4.80. The order of finish was completed by St. Louie, Taghleeb, Bullards Alley, Nessy, One Go All Go, Enterprising, Zulu Alpha, Lucky Ramsey, and Crescent Drive. Also-eligibles Motivational and Tobias did not draw in.