After a one day hiatus, Kentucky Downs picks back up on their six-day turf festival on Wednesday with a 10 race card featuring dual divisions of a mile and 70 yards stakes for older males. The stakes events are creatively named the TVG Stakes (Race 9) and the TVG2 Stakes (Race 8) and are open to those who haven’t won a stakes race in 2021. It will be a little tougher for Joel Rosario to secure a third consecutive five-win day at the meet with only six mounts on the day as of this writing, but he was every bit of a riding sensation over Labor Day weekend, so fade him at your own peril.
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- Race 1: 2-10-3-8
- Race 2: 4-6-8-7
- Race 3: 4-5-1-8
- Race 4: 8-5-9-3
- Race 5: 1-3-10-12
- Race 6: 8-4-1-9
- Race 7: 4-12-3-5
- Race 8: 4-7-9-10
- Race 9: 10-11-8-7
- Race 10: 9-1/1A-2-5
Kentucky Downs Race 3: Fed Money (#4)
I find it hard to trust the shorter prices on the morning line in this maiden claiming event going one mile on the Kentucky Downs lawn. American Diamond (#1) has running lines from before his layoff that make him competitive back when he was under the care of Mark Casse, but I don’t love seeing Mike Maker drop this son of American Pharoah in for 50k in his first run for the turf whisperer. Plus, he got a fast pace to run into last time and his recent works leave something to be desired. I’m even more against the morning line favorite Frenchboro (#8) for Shug McGaughey. He got a very nice trip last time out and did absolutely no running in a maiden special weight event at Saratoga that’s turned out to be very weak for that meet’s standards. He now drops sharply in class and adds blinkers which to me appears as a move with a hint of desperation. Therefore, I’m going with Fed Money (#4) coming off a bit of a break for James Baker. He shows up as a new gelding and his two lifetime turf races were both efforts that make him a player here. As opposed to the other rivals, this is not some sort of concerning drop in class, rather just where this gelding fits. If the two favorites with the high-profile connections fail to show up, Fed Money can get it done and will be an inflated price because of the low-profile rider and trainer. I’d also throw Biko (#5) into the mix for George Arnold. He really was never involved in his first grass try but I think he has the potential to take a step forward as his dam was stakes placed going long on the turf. 2nd off a bit of a layoff is a good move for this barn and the winner of his last came back to place in the G1-Bruce D. at Arlington.
Kentucky Downs Race 8: Kentucky Ghost (#4)
The stakes action gets underway with the TVG2 Stakes going just over a mile on the grass and draws a field of ten competing for a purse of 400k. The morning line favorite Forty Under (#9) is coming out of a facile allowance score at Saratoga and is finally starting to deliver on the immense promise he showed in his juvenile season. However, he’s likely to face even more substantial pace pressure than he did in his last victory and at the short price he’ll be, I’ll look elsewhere. I’ve landed on Kentucky Ghost (#4) who scratched out of the million-dollar stakes event here on Monday and opted for this spot where the conditions of the race fit him like a glove. He enters this race out of a good rendition of the Buckland Stakes at Colonial Downs last time out where he ran well to just miss by a dirty bob. He actually had trouble entering the clubhouse turn and got shuffled back to nearly last entering the stretch, neither of which are noted in the short comment line. He’s been improving with each start this year and has proven form over this course at a distance probably too far for him from last year. Furthermore, the third place finisher in the Buckland, Pixelate, came back to win that aforementioned million-dollar stakes at Kentucky Downs on Monday further flattering Kentucky Ghost’s form. I doubt we get the 8-1 morning line on him, so I’d also keep South Bend (#7) and Hierarchy (#10) in the mix as well as alternatives to the favorite. The former has hinted at ability throughout his career and last time got caught behind a slow pace and was given no chance. The latter has some back form that makes him a player and the Joe Sharp barn has been red hot to kick off this meet.
Kentucky Downs Race 9: Penalty (#10)
The other division of the TVG Stakes features a horse in Snapper Sinclair (#8) that always seems to wake up and do his best running over the Kentucky Downs turf course. That love affair began all the way back in 2017 when he took down a juvenile stakes race and continued into 2019 when he was an upset winner of the rich Tourist Mile, a race in which he nearly repeated in last year. However, personally I don’t want to take a small number to see if the magic continues. I really like Penalty (#10) in this spot for Bill Mott and Jose Ortiz. This runner has always shown flashes of talent throughout his career as evidenced by him knocking heads with future G1 winner Halladay in ’19-’20. He’s also been dealt his fair share of bad luck of late, clipping heels in both his first two starts to kick off his ’21 campaign. He put it all together two back when mowing down an allowance field at Belmont in a visually impressive performance with absolutely no pace to run into. At first glance, it looks like he disappointed in the Poker last time, but that field was stacked and he simply finished sandwiched between classy stakes runner Get Smokin’ and recent Bernard Baruch winner Tell Your Daddy. He’ll get the pace he needs to close into and I believe he gets his long overdue first stakes win. The other runner I’d throw in would be Midnight Tea Time (#11). I mentioned Joe Sharp’s fast start to the Kentucky Downs meet in the previous race preview and that applies here as well. Midnight Tea Time has also shown an affinity for this course with an allowance win in 2019 and a stakes placing here last year.
Kentucky Downs Race 10: Cailin Diana (#9)
The Godolphin entry will be very formidable in this maiden special weight for juvenile fillies that closes out the card as both halves rate a decent chance. Already Charming (#1) goes out for Brad Cox and Florent Geroux and got a solid speed figure in her first start at Ellis while finishing third. However, she got to walk on the lead that day and I would have liked to see her at least hold second in order to want her back in this spot. I prefer the other half of the entry in Soft Touch (#1A) who gets a rider switch to the white-hot Joel Rosario. This Uncle Mo filly is a half sister to the talented G2 turf stakes winning router Lucullan and got a decent education in an off-the-turf event at Colonial Downs. However, as often is the case with entrymates, they are likely to be over-bet and they face a dangerous rival in Cailin Diana (#9). This More than Ready filly goes out for Brendan Walsh and earns the services of Tyler Gaffalione despite a Mike Maker runner in the field. This filly’s two-turn debut was a very useful effort as she finished between two rivals that were entered in the juvenile fillies stakes here on Monday. In that race, she suffered a one-length defeat to Turnerloose who came back to dominate the aforementioned stakes race en route to a five length score. Cailin Diana doesn’t even need to take that level of a step forward to handle this field and she should be a fair price with the presence of the royal blue duo to her inside.