Two weeks after a Grade 1 win at Saratoga, trainer Christophe Clement is putting the star of his barn back in the starting gates.
Gufo (7-5) is morning-line favorite Saturday for the Grade 2, $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes. Post time from Kentucky Downs is 5:45 p.m., with the race broadcast on both CNBC and FanDuel TV, the network formerly known as TVG.
The Turf Cup highlights Saturday’s card at the European-style turf course just north of the Kentucky-Tennessee border. $4.95 million in listed purse money is on the line between six graded events.
A Breeders’ Cup Turf “win and you’re in” berth is also at stake. The Kentucky Turf Cup goes 1 1/2 miles, the same distance of that World Championship event scheduled for Nov. 5 at Keeneland.
Gufo already clinched a fees-paid Breeders’ Cup Turf bid by way of his Sword Dancer Stakes (G1) score Aug. 27 at Saratoga. He closed from seventh that day to beat Mira Mission by a half-length and notch the third Grade 1 win of his career.
Clement now ships the 5-year-old son of Declaration of War to Kentucky, a state where he has never raced in 19 lifetime starts. Jockey Joel Rosario, record-setting rider at last year’s Kentucky Downs meet, will pilot the morning-line favorite.
Arklow (7-2) won the Kentucky Turf Cup in both 2018 and 2020 and is back as an 8-year-old for trainer Brad Cox. The veteran Grade 1 winner made his first start of the season July 31, finishing second in Saratoga’s Bowling Green Stakes (G2).
Trainer Mike Maker has won the Kentucky Turf Cup four times and has four of the 12 runners in this year’s field. The shortest morning-line price of the four is Grade 2 victor Temple (6-1), who was third July 23 at Monmouth Park in the United Nations Stakes (G1).
Admission Office (10-1), twice a Grade 3 winner, ran sixth Aug. 13 at Churchill Downs in the Arlington Million Stakes (G1) for trainer Brian Lynch.
Chad Brown trains Highest Honors (12-1), who steps up in class off a third-place showing July 8 in Belmont Park’s Grand Couturier Stakes.
Chilean Group 1 hero Breakpoint (15-1) took Santa Anita’s San Juan Capistrano Stakes (G3) on June 19 for trainer Neil Drysdale.
Here is a look at the field for the 2022 Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes (trainer and jockey in parentheses) with morning-line odds:
1. Red Knight (Mike Maker, Gerardo Corrales), 15-1
2. Breakpoint (Neil Drysdale, Tyler Baze), 15-1
3. Temple (Mike Maker, Jose Ortiz), 6-1
4. Arklow (Brad Cox, Florent Geroux), 7-2
5. Keystone Field (Mike Maker, Ricardo Santana Jr.), 30-1
6. Glynn County (Mike Maker, Vincent Cheminaud), 30-1
7. Admission Office (Brian Lynch, John Velazquez), 10-1
8. Gufo (Christophe Clement, Joel Rosario), 7-5
9. Who’s the Star (Mark Casse, Julien Leparoux), 20-1
10. Another Mystery (Chris Block, Irad Ortiz Jr.), 15-1
11. Rogue Element (Jeff Hiles, Adam Beschizza), 30-1
12. Highest Honors (Chad Brown, Tyler Gaffalione), 12-1
TimeformUS’ pace projections show long shot Keystone Field going out to a lead under jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. Favorite Gufo is expected to attempt a rally from the back of the field.
Kentucky Turf Cup links
Matt Shifman offers Kentucky Turf Cup odds and analysis. He lands on a Mike Maker-trained long shot as his top choice.
Arklow has thrived at Kentucky Downs, a track that can be challenging for runners used to more conventional circuits. "He likes it, and when a horse likes it, you take advantage of it because there are a lot of horses that do not like it,” trainer Brad Cox said.
Trainer Chad Brown takes his shot at the Kentucky Turf Cup with Highest Honors. Reinier Macatangay writes why Brown has been on a cold streak at the Kentucky Downs meet.
The Kentucky Turf Cup is part of an all-stakes late Pick 5 with lucrative purses, full fields, and enticing wagering opportunities. Handicapper Sara Elbadwi discusses three horses all 10-1 or higher on the morning line that could at least hit the board, if not win.
This week on the Ron Flatter Racing Pod, Hall of Famer and horse owner Dan Issel tells basketball stories and talks about the unique turf meet at Kentucky Downs.
Other Saturday stakes
Here is a look at other graded stakes taking place Saturday across North America. All post times are EDT.
2:45 p.m. – $1 million Mint Million Stakes (G3), 3-and-up, one mile (turf), Kentucky Downs, FanDuel TV
Atone (3-1) steps up in class for trainer Mike Maker off a third-place finish in an Aug. 4 allowance race at Saratoga. The 5-year-old Into Mischief gelding aims for his first stakes score under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. John Ortiz trains Mr Dumas (7-2), who was runner-up Aug. 7 in Ellis Park’s Turf Mile Stakes and who looks for his first graded win since scoring at the Grade 3 level in November 2019. Somelikeithotbrown (9-2), another Maker entry, is a Grade 2 victor who runs back 15 days after winning Saratoga’s West Point Stakes on Aug. 26.
4:30 p.m. – $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3), 3-and-up fillies and mares, one mile (turf), Kentucky Downs, FanDuel TV
Dalika (2-1) became a Grade 1 winner Aug. 13 when she scored a half-length win over Princess Grace in the Beverly D. Stakes at Churchill Downs. Jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. was aboard the 6-year-old Pastorius mare that day and retains the mount for trainer Al Stall Jr. Michael Stidham trains Grade 2 victor Princess Grace (3-1), who won this race in 2021 and who gets another shot Saturday at Dalika. Stolen Holiday (4-1) made the grade June 18 for trainer Shug McGaughey in Monmouth Park’s Eatontown Stakes (G3).
5:08 p.m. – $200,000 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup Stakes (G3), 3-and-up, one mile (turf), Pimlico, FanDuel TV
Set Piece (2-1), twice a Grade 2 hero for trainer Brad Cox, looks to bounce back off a fourth-place finish Aug. 13 at Churchill Downs in the Arlington Million Stakes (G1). Jockey Sheldon Russell assumes the mount on the 6-year-old Dansili gelding. Chad Brown trains Public Sector (5-2), another dual Grade 2 winner coming off a fourth-place effort, his being in the Lure Stakes on Aug. 6 at Saratoga. Pao Alto (7-2) won a Group 2 race in Qatar and makes his North American debut for trainer Graham Motion.
5:10 p.m. – $1 million Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes (G2), 3-and-up, six furlongs (turf), Kentucky Downs, CNBC and FanDuel TV
Arrest Me Red (9-5), a Grade 2 winner for trainer Wesley Ward, leads this “win and you’re in” event toward the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. gets the call Saturday on the 4-year-old Pioneerof the Nile colt, runner-up June 11 in Belmont Park’s Jaipur Stakes (G1). Michael Trombetta trains Grade 3 victor Arzak (9-2), who crossed fourth Aug. 5 at Saratoga in the Troy Stakes (G3). Chewing Gum (5-1), a Grade 2 winner, was fourth July 23 at Woodbine in the Connaught Cup Stakes (G2) for trainer Bill Mott.
6:20 p.m. – $600,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3), 3-and-up fillies and mares, 6 1/2 furlongs (turf), Kentucky Downs, FanDuel TV
Campanelle (8-5) has won two Group 1 races in Europe but still seeks her first graded victory on domestic soil. Irad Ortiz and Ward team up with the 4-year-old Kodiac filly, third-place runner June 18 at Royal Ascot in the Platinum Jubilee Stakes (G1). Todd Pletcher trains Jouster (5-1), a Grade 2 winner who was sixth Aug. 7 at Saratoga in the De La Rose Stakes. In Good Spirits (6-1) upset this race in 2021 at 15-1 odds and finished fourth last out in the De La Rose for Stall.
6:55 p.m. – $600,000 Franklin-Simpson Stakes (G2), 3-year-olds, 6 1/2 furlongs (turf), Kentucky Downs, FanDuel TV
Big Invasion (8-5) has won six straight races for trainer Christophe Clement, picking up a Grade 3 win along the way. Jockey Joel Rosario will climb aboard the Declaration of War colt, whose last start was a Mahony Stakes win Aug. 14 at Saratoga. Richard Mandella trains Sumter (9-2), who ships east off a third-place effort Aug. 7 in Del Mar’s La Jolla Handicap (G3). Fellow stakes winner Run Curtis Run (6-1) was second to Big Invasion on July 17 in Saratoga’s Quick Call Stakes (G3).
7:48 p.m. – $300,000 Del Mar Debutante (G1), 2-year-old fillies, seven furlongs, Del Mar, FanDuel TV
Home Cooking (9-5) runs for 10-time Del Mar Debutante-winning trainer Bob Baffert after beating maidens on second asking Aug. 21 at Del Mar. Jockey Mike Smith rides the Honor Code filly. Doug O’Neill trains Vegas Magic (3-1), whose 3-for-3 record to begin her career includes a local Sorrento Stakes (G2) triumph Aug. 13. And Tell Me Nolies (3-1) graduated Aug. 14 at Del Mar in her second start for trainer Peter Miller.
8:18 p.m. – $250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2), 3-year-old fillies and mares, 1 1/8 miles (turf), Del Mar, FanDuel TV
Going Global (4-5) earned the seventh graded-stakes win of her career Aug. 13 when she won the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) at Del Mar. Jockey Umberto Rispoli will get a leg up from trainer Phil D’Amato on the 4-year-old, Grade 1-winning Mehmas filly. D’Amato also trains Going to Vegas (5-2), a Grade 1 heroine who was runner-up May 30 at Santa Anita in the Gamely Stakes (G1). Local stakes winner Avenue de France (6-1) finished second to Going Global in the Yellow Ribbon for trainer Leonard Powell.
8:30 p.m. – $125,000 (about $96,000 U.S.) British Columbia Derby (G3), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles, Hastings Racecourse, FanDuel TV
Regal Riot (5-2) owns two prior stakes wins at Hastings and now aims to make the grade for trainer Robert Anderson at the Vancouver, B.C., oval. Jockey Efrain Hernandez will get a leg up on the Jersey Town gelding, who was third Aug. 20 at Century Mile in the Canadian Derby (G3). Edgar Mendoza trains Soaringforthesun (7-2), whose sixth-place run in the Canadian Derby followed a Hastings stakes win. Arollercoasterride (9-2) won on fifth asking Aug. 13 at Santa Rosa in northern California and ships to Canada to make a stakes bow for trainer Barbara Heads.