Ioya Bigtime, staked to a loping lead by Jeffrey Sanchez, refused to buckle under relentless pressure from favored Rahystrada to win the $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) on the grass course at Kentucky Downs Sept. 15.
Shipped in from Arlington Park, Team Block's 5-year-old Illinois homebred prevailed in a long stretch drive by a half-length for trainer Chris Block while completing the 1 1/2-mile event in a slow 2:30.06 over firm going. The tough 8-year-old gelding Rahystrada, looking to repeat his 3 3/4-length victory in the Kentucky Turf Cup last year, had to settle for second, with Kindergarden Kid third, a head behind the runner-up.
Ioya Bigtime came into the race in top form. The Dynaformer horse out of the Lord At War mare Ioya Two, won Arlington's 1 1/2-mile Stars and Stripes (gr. IIIT) by 1 1/2 lengths July 14 and was coming off a runner-up finish in the inaugural American St. Leger at 1 11/16 miles Aug. 18 at the Chicago track.