Prince Arch, thanks to a patient ride by Brice Blanc, ended heavily favored Kitten's Joy five-race winning streak in the final strides of the $226,200-added Jefferson Cup (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds on the turf at Churchill Downs.
In the first of six stakes on the "Stephen Foster Super Saturday" card, Prince Arch evened the score with Kitten's Joy, who defeated him by 2 1/2 lengths in their last start, the 1 1/16-mile Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) at Churchill April 30. The extra distance and softer ground worked to Prince Arch's advantage, who prevailed by a head. The final time for Saturday's 1 1/8-mile test on a yielding turf was 1:50 3/5.
Blanc saved ground while reserved off the lead of Cool Conductor and Prince Arch cut the final turn to range into contention on the inside in upper stretch. Kitten's Joy, racing three wide for the most of the trip, wrested the lead from Cool Conductor in the stretch. But Prince Arch angled to the outside in the stretch, getting up just in time.
Cool Conductor, who held on for third in the field of nine under Cornelio Velasquez, set fractions of :24, :49, 1:13 4/5 and 1:38 1/5 before giving way.
Ken McPeek trains the winner.
Owned by Raymond H. Cottrell Sr., Prince Arch, a chestnut colt by Arch
-Princess Kris (by Kris), improved to 4-4-0 in 11 starts with earnings of about $299,266. The victory was worth $140,244.
"The greatest thing about this stake win is that I've trained for Ray for so long, and it's sweet to knock one down for a guy that's stuck with me for so long," McPeek said. "I've had enough people that have not (stayed with me). He needed the 1 1/8th (to get Kitten's Joy) and the soft turf helped. The soft ground kind of loosens it up for him to grind through it and run the others down."
McPeek won his eight stakes race at Churchill Downs. It was Cottrell's first.
Kitten's Joy, considered one of the leading 3-year-old turf specialists in the country, counted three consecutive grade III wins among his five-race streak. It was his first loss on the grass in six tries.
Pine Lake Bloodstock LLC bred Prince Arch, a $37,000 Keeneland September 2002 sale, in Kentucky.
The winner paid $13, $3.40 and $2.80. Kitten's Joy, the 4-5 choice, returned $2.40 and $2.20. Cool Conductor was $3.60 to show. The exacta was worth $28.20.
Terroplane was fourth, followed by Mighty Military, Capo, More Bourb, Radiant Cat and Bogangles.