Kentucky Turf Cup Picks and Preview
With its brief meet each September, the opportunity to bet Kentucky Downs is fleeting, and Sept.8 may represent the best racing/wagering day of the truncated season with the $750,000 Kentucky Turf Cup serving as the featured event and drawing an overflow field of 16.
Going a mile and a half over the seldom-used, undulating turf course at Kentucky Downs presents a unique handicapping challenge in any race, and this year’s renewal of the Kentucky Turf Cup is certainly no exception. With contenders shipping in from New York, California and various points around the midwest, the ecclectic combination of runners provides for intriguing gambling fodder.
Here’s a look at the field:
- 1-Bronson 30/1
- 2-Nessy 15/1
- 3-Manitoulin 6/1
- 4-Bigger Picture 9/2
- 5-Multiplier 5/1
- 6-Oscar Nominated 7/2
- 7-All Right 30/1
- 8-Arklow 12/1
- 9-Soglio 12/1
- 10-Some In Tieme 12/1
- 11-My Bariley 20/1
- 12-Big Bend 10/1
- 13-Patterson Cross 12/1
- 14- Markitoff 15/1
- 15-Twenty Four Seven 12/1
- 16-Bandua 8/1
Betting conversation starts with familiar foe
Oscar Nominated is a deserving favorite in this race – alebit a lukewarm pick – based on his affinity for the quirky Kentucky Downs turf. The five year-old Mike Maker trainee has won the last two editions of this race – his only two starts at Kentucky Downs. Oscar Nominated was purposefully rested after a disappointing finish in the Grade 1 United Nations June 30 and has trained forwardly for this event.
After Oscar Nominated, who may only hold a slight edge over this field, the waters get much murkier.
Players looking for value may search the also-eligible list first as Patterson Cross (12/1) and Bandua (8/1) both appear to have a live look in this field if able to draw in.
Patterson Cross, trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott, has moved forwardly in each of his three starts this summer and appears to be sitting on a big effort. His pedigree suggests that the added distance and tiring nature of the Kentucky Downs turf course is well within his scope. Bandua is a three year-old colt from Europe who was brought to the States in August by trainer Dermot Weld to contest the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park. He ran a respectable third in that event and is another horse who can run all day.
In the main body of the field, Mike Maker will also saddle Bigger Picture (9/2) and Soglio (12/1). The former runner is a former grade 1 winner and has a resume equal or better to any contestant in the field, but has settled for minor awards in several recent starts. Soglio posted a 100 Beyer Speed Figure two starts ago while finishing third in a grade 3 race at Arlington. This runner doesn’t win often, but can certainly be competitive against this group with a repeat of that race.
Arklow (12/1) is another interesting candidate in this field. The former grade 1 winner trained by Brad Cox is a bit of a grinder, but that style could play well in a race that will certainly stretch the endurance limitations of most runners in the field.
It’s worth noting that top west coast trainer Peter Miller ships Multiplier across the country for this race, so it’s reasonable to assume this horse will give a good account of himself.
Longer shots and bottom line picks
While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see any of about 8 runners in this field win the race, I don’t see anyone listed at 20/1 or higher on the morning line pulling the upset. In a race this wide-open, I’ll lean against Oscar Nominated despite the obvious credentials he brings to the race and go with Patterson Cross on top, realizing he will need at least one defection to make the race. Here are my top four selections:
- 1st: Patterson Cross
- 2nd: Oscar Nominated
- 3rd: Multiplier
- 4th: Arklow