Expert picks: Kentucky Turf Cup predictions, longshots

September 07, 2018 04:26pm
Oscar Nominated_Ky Turf Cup 2017_615x400
Photo: Reed Palmer/Kentucky Downs
Kentucky Downs is squarely in the spotlight on Saturday, with the Grade 3, $350,000 Kentucky Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles the featured race on a card packed with five lucrative stakes. Oscar Nominated is back to defend his victory in last year's race but will be up against a full field of rivals.

Ahead of post time at 6:59 p.m. ET, here's how the Horse Racing Nation crew has handicapped:

Jeffrey Byrnes, Byrnzzze's Corner (@jeffbyrnes96)

Winner: #6 Oscar Nominated

On the board: #8 Arklow, #5 Multiplier

Longshot I like: #12 Big Bend

Analysis: Oscar Nominated is a deserving favorite in this race at 2-for-2 overall at Kentucky Downs. He will sit mid pack and come with a late run. If he's able to repeat last year's effortr, he should win again. Arklow has not finished out of the superfecta in 2018, plus he won the prep for this race at Ellis Park, and has experience against some of the top in the country. He showed new running tactics by going up front last time and prevailed, making him a threat here. Multiplier ships in from California and reunites with Joel Rosario, who rode him to victory in the 2017 Illinois Derby. He will come from way back, though the field is not as tough as he has been facing. Big Bend is 0-for-4 this year, but he is a worthy longshot because he loves the turf course and picks up perhaps the hottest rider in the country Drayden Van Dyke. If he can clear from the outside and keep himself under control, he can get a piece of it. I will play a 6-8-5-12 superfecta box.

Nick Costa, Trackside with Trackman

Winner: #3 Manitoulin

On the board: #6 Oscar Nominated, #4 Bigger Picture

Longshot I like: #12 Big Bend

Analysis: Manitoulin obviously did not care much for the soft ground he encountered last time out, but he ran big from a difficult post in the Manhattan (G1) two back against some of the better turf horses in the country. The defending champ, Oscar Nominated, is a ‘horse for course’ at Kentucky Downs and has never finished out of the exacta in five lifetime starts at the distance. Bigger Picture finished eighth last out in the Sword Dancer (G1) and is certainly capable of much better. Big Bend gets the services of red-hot Drayden Van Dyke, who has twice ridden this colt to victory, including a score over this very course last September.

Casey Laughter, The Tattooed Tracksider (@claughter_media)

Winner: #4 Bigger Picture

On the board: #6 Oscar Nominated, #9 Soglio

Longshot I like: #8 Arklow

Analysis: I think this race has no clear cut easy win pick, but Bigger Picture gets some class relief here and has performed well at this marathon distance. Oscar Nominated isn't in top form but could regain it at what's possibly his favorite track.

Reinier Macatangay, Setting the Pace (@tracinglifemore)

Winner: #6 Oscar Nominated

On the board: #4 Bigger Picture, AE #13 Patterson Cross

Longshot I like: #2 Nessy

Analysis: Oscar Nominated loves Kentucky Downs, and on a course as quirky as this one, past experience helps. Bigger Picture will offer better value though, while Patterson Cross has a consistent closing kick. Nessy's form is dirtied up by a slow pace at Arlington and an unusual two-mile Belmont race.

Olivia Newman, @barbaroloverrrThe Final Stride

Winner: #6 Oscar Nominated

On the board: #5 Multiplier, #4 Bigger Picture

Longshot I like: #8 Arklow

Analysis: Oscar Nominated is facing a challenge with a long layoff, but he’s by far the classiest contender in here. If he can settle behind horses, he appears to be much the best. I like Arklow as a longshot, as he’s coming off a win, and will appreciate the distance here. 


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