If you are thirsty for some top notch competition, there will be plenty of Cups to drink from at Kentucky Downs on September 9.
Located just north of the Tennessee state line, that little “country” track in Franklin, Kentucky will feature a huge day of racing on Saturday, September 9. A monstrous lineup featuring six stakes races that are all worth at least $1 million can quench any competitive thirst. And for good measure, two of those Stakes races are Breeders’ Cup qualifiers.
The $1 million Ainsworth Turf Sprint is a grade 2 race run at six furlongs that provides the winner a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 4 at Santa Anita. Carded as race 10 on the day, a full field of twelve will run for a spot in the winner’s circle. Gear Jockey, trained by Rusty Arnold is back for another run after taking this race in 2021. Other top contenders are Nobals, trained by Larry Rivelli, Cogburn out of the Steve Asmussen barn, Olympic Runner for Mark Casse, and Dr. Zempf for trainer Chad Brown.
Another Cup that runneth over on September 9 is the $1.7 million FanDuel Turf Cup. As the final race of the day (12), this grade 2 event will be run at a mile and a half and also guarantees a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on November 4. This race also will feature a full field of twelve with four of those being grade 1 winners. Defending champion Red Knight is back at the age of 9 for Kentucky Downs all-time leading trainer Mike Maker. Maker also sends out Therapist and Me and Mr. C. Brendan Walsh has recently enjoyed success at Kentucky Downs and he has entered two-time grade 1 winner Santin and the ever-improving Verstappen. Spooky Channel and Get Smoking are also prominent runners in a very balanced field. The winner’s share of the purse is a hefty $1 million for Kentucky-bred horses and a cool $800,00 for a winner not born in the Bluegrass State.
The other Stakes races on the card are the Franklin-Simpson for three-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs, the Ladies Sprint for three-year-old and up females at 6 ½ furlongs, the Ladies Turf at 1 mile for three-year olds and up, and the Ladies Marathon for three-year-olds and up at a mile and five sixteenths. For those scoring at home, the Stakes races during the first three days of the 2023 Kentucky Downs meet have returned an average of $518 on the 10-cent superfecta ($2.40 wager if boxed).
First post on Saturday, September 9 will be at 11:30 am central. The card will feature 12 races on the day.