Kentucky Downs picks: Bryon King's Thursday stakes selections

By Byron King/Kentucky Downs
September 11, 2019 12:44pm
Byron King, a freelance turf writer, publicist and handicapper based in Louisville, is setting Kentucky Downs’ morning line odds and analyzing the stakes races as part of the Runhappy Meet’s publicity team. The longtime Daily Racing Form writer has covered and handicapped Kentucky Downs for two decades. These Thursday stakes selections were made before the scratch deadline.

Two $500,000 stakes bring a close to the five-day meet at Kentucky Downs on Thursday, beginning with the eighth race, the Ramsey Farm for older fillies and mares at 1 5/16 miles.

GENTLE RULER (#6, 5-2) brings a form edge into the Ramsey Farm, winning four in a row before a close fourth in the Grade 3 Waya on Aug. 4 at Saratoga. In a pair of those victories, she defeated GAINING (#1, 3-1), her principal rival in Thursday’s race.

The latter came to the U.S. with a high-quality reputation, having won a Group 3 race in France late last year for owner/breeder Juddmonte Farms. Backed to favoritism in each of her three races in America, she has settled for minor awards, twice finishing second and once third. In head-to-head matchups with GENTLE RULER, she was beaten three-quarters of a length in the Keertana at Churchill, then by three lengths in the Robert Dick Memorial at Delaware Park. 

OVER THINKING (#8, 12-1) woke up with a near miss in stakes company last month at Del Mar, her best effort since she rattled off a pair of allowance victories last fall. She is also a prior winner over the unique Kentucky Downs course.

LEMOONA (#5, 8-1) was a minor stakes winner at Santa Anita going 1 ¼ miles in June before running last of six in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar, though she was only beaten 4 ½ lengths. Her form is improved in 2019, winning two of her last four starts.

Selections: 6-1-8-5

A race later in the Grade 3 Nevada State Bank Franklin-Simpson, ARCHIDUST (#1, 2-1) figures to be tough to beat in this 6 ½-furlong grass dash, particularly with Casa Creed, who looked like one of his chief rivals, to be scratched from the initial entries. He is 2-for-2 in grass stakes after transitioning from dirt racing. Both of these wins came in ungraded races, contests he dominated while recording lofty speed figures.

THE LAST ZIP (#4, 8-1) cuts back in distance out of short routes, where he has been performing well in top company. He was a dead-heat second in the American Derby in July before running third in the Grade 1 Secretariat over a mile. He began his career as a turf sprinter, and progeny of his sire, City Zip, are often quite versatile.

LEGENDS OF WAR (#5, 12-1) put it all together to narrowly win a first-level allowance at Del Mar in quick time Aug. 3, his first triumph in five starts in America. He was imported to the U.S. from Britain after a promising 2-year-old season that saw him win a couple races and place in a Group 2 stakes.

POLE SETTER (#3, 12-1), given two months off after a disappointing fifth in the one-mile Manila Stakes at Belmont July 4, fits if one excuses that race. He won the seven-furlong Paradise Creek a start before that, and was also a brave allowance winner in the slop at Keeneland in the spring. He was sixth in his lone start over this course last year, though in the lucrative Kentucky Downs Juvenile, a race won by eventual Grade 1 winner Henley’s Joy.

Selections: 1-4-5-3

*Rating is based on HRN fan votes, which rank the Top Active Horses in training.
RankSilksHorse / SireRatingTrainer / JockeyLast StartStatus
J. Navarro
J. Castellano
1st, 2019 Mahony (LS) 
 Casa Creed
Jimmy Creed
W. Mott
J. Alvarado
1st, 2019 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) 
 Pole Setter
Take Charge Indy
B. Cox
F. Geroux
5th, 2019 Manila (LS) 
 The Last Zip
City Zip
M. Stidham
A. Beschizza
3rd, 2019 Secretariat Stakes (G1) 
 Legends Of War
Scat Daddy
D. O'Neill
R. Bejarano
7th, 2019 Oceanside (RS)
J. Sisterson
T. Baze
3rd, 2019 Bruce D. Memorial (LS)
 Life Mission
Noble Mission
B. Colebrook
J. Graham
2nd, 2018 Pulpit (LS)
Temple City
M. Maker
M. Mena
2nd, Sar Claim (8/16/2019-R2)
 The Black Album
Wootton Bassett
R. Brisset
F. Prat
5th, 2019 Mahony (LS) 
Morning Line
D. O'Neill
J. Rosario
6th, 2019 La Jolla Handicap (G3)
S. Asmussen
J. Ortiz
5th, 2019 H. Allen Jerkens Memorial (G1) 
 Moon Colony
Uncle Mo
M. Casse
J. Leparoux
8th, 2019 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2) 
 Neverland Rock
No Nay Never
S. Asmussen
B. Hernandez, Jr.
5th, 2019 Allied Forces (LS)
Cairo Prince
W. Ward
T. Gaffalione
2nd, 2019 Galway (LS) 
Artie Schiller
B. Lynch
T. Gaffalione
1st, Sar Allow (8/17/2019-R6)
First Samurai
B. Walsh
J. Graham
5th, 2019 Paradise Creek (LS)


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