Photo: Four Footed Fotos
WinStar Farm LLC’s General Election got his career off to an auspicious start nearly a year ago beneath the Twin Spires of
On Saturday night
he will return to the Louisville track in an attempt hit the “reset”
button on his 3-year-old season following a pair of disappointing summer
those setbacks, General Election is the 3-1 morning line favorite in a
field on nine 3-year-olds entered in the $100,000-added
Jefferson Cup (GIII), which will be run at a mile over the Matt Winn
Turf Course. It will be his first outing at Churchill Downs since the
bay son of Harlan’s Holiday rolled to a three-length victory on dirt in
his racing debut on Nov. 24.
There have been plenty of highlights in the 3-year-old season for General Election, who is trained by Lexington-based Kellyn Gorder.
They include a victory over Turfway Park’s synthetic Polytrack surface
the John Battaglia Memorial, a runner-up finish over the Polytrack
surface at Keeneland in the Coolmore Lexington (GIII) and, most
recently, a 13-1 win over the Arlington Park turf in the May 25
Arlington Classic (GIII).
But two races since that
triumph have resulted in little more than frustration. The most recent
was a trip to Southern California that resulted in a fifth-place finish
in a division of the Del Mar Derby (GII). The
stretch-running General Election was beaten by only two lengths by Ethnic Dance
in that 1 1/8-mile outing although he was forced to chase slow early
fractions of :49.45 for the half mile and six furlongs in 1:13.45 that
did little to set-up his late
“It wasn’t a bad
effort,” Gorder said. “That race was split into two divisions and we
were unlucky enough to get the one that didn’t have any pace.”
to his trip to Del Mar, General Election had a difficult experience at
Arlington Park in the American Derby (GIII). He finished
seventh in a field of 10 in that race and was vanned back to the barn
following the race.
“He stumbled and took a bad step right before the wire,” Gorder said. “He bobbled a little bit and (jockey) Joe (Rocco Jr.)
jumped off of him, just as a precaution. We got him back to the barn
cooled-out fine, and we went over him when we got back to the Lexington,
but didn’t come up with much. We’re thinking just stepped in a soft
spot or a divot.”
Rocco, who has ridden
Gorder’s colt in three of his last four starts, will be back in the
saddle on Saturday when General Election meets seven other 3-year-olds
in the one-mile Jefferson Cup.
“It’s a good spot
and we don’t have to go halfway across the country, like we did last
time,” Gorder said. “It might be a little shorter than his ideal
distance. He’s done his best running at a mile-and-a-sixteenth.”
General Election is the narrow pre-race favorite over Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Redwood Kitten, a front-running winner of the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day and third
to Gabriel Charles in the other division of the Del Mar Derby in
his most recent outing. Redwood Kitten is listed at 7-2 in the Jefferson
Cup’s morning line odds.
General Election stands at 3-2-0 in nine races and each of his three
wins has come over a different surface: dirt at Churchill Downs,
synthetic Polytrack at Turfway Park and grass at Arlington
is optimistic that his colt’s spotless record at Churchill Downs will
remain intact Saturday evening after the Jefferson Cup has
“It looks like
this race might set up for him,” Gorder said. “There’s some speed in
there and hopefully Joe will get him good position and make a nice run.”
TATE’S LANDING BIDS TO RETURN TO FORM FOR MOTION IN JEFFERSON CUP
He’s a pre-race longshot for Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Graham Motion, but Copper Penny Stable’s Tate’s Landing is a colt
that could be a contender in Saturday night’s competitive 37th
running of the Jefferson Cup, which shares the racing spotlight with
the $175,000-added Homecoming Classic on the final “Downs After Dark”
night racing program of
Churchill Downs’ September Meet.
Tate’s Landing won one of three starts on dirt at two for trainer Michael Pino
before he moved to the turf at Laurel Park and rolled to an easy 3
½-length victory at odds of 23-1 in the Laurel Futurity. He followed
that victory with an eighth-place finish in the Dania Beach at
Gulfstream Park in December and moved to Motion’s stable in early 2013.
The 3-year-old son of
Orientate trained steadily through the spring and summer with Motion’s
stable at Maryland’s Fair Hill Training Center. He finally returned to
racing on Sept. 7 with a fourth-place run in a field
of nine in a six-furlong sprint over the grass at Kentucky Downs in
“He trained very well in the
spring and I kind of like the idea of starting off sprinting,” Motion
said via telephone from Fair Hill. “I think, to be honest, this horse
can do most anything. I think he can turf or
dirt, but it just seemed like a good idea to start him off there at
Tate’s Landing was beaten by
just 2 ¼ lengths in his solid return at Kentucky Downs, and Motion felt a
return to stakes competition in the Jefferson Cup was a logical next
step for the colt.
“This race was a good fit,
timing-wise, so I kind of had it in the back of my mind,” Motion said.
“It worked out well because we had a few horses at Churchill Downs, so
he didn’t have to ship all the way back.”
Tate’s Landing brings a career record of 2-1-0 in six races and earnings of $106,820 in the Jefferson Cup.
Tate’s Landing was one of two Motion-trained horses entered to run in the Jefferson Cup, but Motion said Friday that Newcal
Stable’s Rapscallion would be scratched from the race. The son of Speightstown who ran second to Frac
Daddy in a Saratoga allowance last time out and has yet to run worse than third in his four career starts.
The Jefferson Cup would have
been the stakes debut for Rapscallion, but Motion has decided to take
more time with the colt.
“I think it’s just too big a step for him,” Motion said. “I thought the race came up very competitive.”