The $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs drew an overflow field, with 16 entered and a dozen to start in the 1 ½ mile turf test.
The Turf Cup is one of five graded stakes on the Saturday card at Kentucky Downs. The winner stamps a ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) as part of the “Win and You’re in” series.
One race prior a full field will line up in the $1 million FanDuel Turf Sprint (G3), with the winner earning a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
The other stakes on the card are the $600,000 Franklin Simpson (G2), the $750,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) and the $600,000 Mint Ladies Sprint (G3).
The Brad Cox trained Arklow is the 3-1 morning line favorite for the Turf Cup. The seven-year-old won this race last year, was second to Zulu Alpha in 2019 and won it in 2018.
Florent Geroux has the return call on the son of Arch who is looking to rebound off a seventh-place finish in the Del Mar Handicap (G2) in his last outing on Aug. 21.
Zulu Alpha (6-1) was third in this race last year after winning it in 2019 at 2-1. The Mike Maker trainee was a disappointing seventh in the Mr. D. (G1) at Arlington Park in his last outing. Maker went cold toward the end of the Saratoga meeting and started off the meet here going 1 for 24.
Channel Cat (9-2) will be part of the pace early and is looking to rebound off a fourth in the Bowling Green (G2) last out at Saratoga. He was sent off as the 7-2 favorite, set the early fractions but did not have enough punch left late in the 1 3/8-mile race contested over good ground. John Velazquez has the ride for trainer Jack Sisterson.
2021 Bowling Green Replay
Let’s head out to Kentucky Downs for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Kentucky Downs Race 9 The Calumet Turf Cup (G2) 4:44 CT
3 Channel Cat 9-2
1 Imperador 15-1
2 Crossfirehurricane 20-1
5 Arklow 3-1
The Sisterson trainee was our top pick in the Bowling Green (G2) last out at Saratoga and after setting the early fractions he weakened in the stretch to check in fourth going 1 3/8 miles over good ground. The top pair in the race came back to run third and fourth in the Sword Dancer (G1) in their next outings. Three back our top pick won the Man O’ War (G1) at Belmont Park over good ground at 1 3/8 miles. The six-year-old is 1 for 7 at today’s 1 ½ mile distance with a second and a third. His win over the grass here came in the 2018 Dueling Grounds Derby while in the Pletcher barn. He is in capable hands with the underrated Sisterson barn and being up on the lead here usually is where you want to be on this course.
This five-year-old stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot in the United Nations (G1) last out at Monmouth Park, beaten two lengths by a very sharp Tribhuvan. The winner came back with a disappointing effort in a fifth-place finish in the Sword Dancer. Two others did exit the U.N. to win stakes next out, Serve the King winning the John’s Call at Saratoga and Ocean’s Map winning the Cape Henlopen at Delaware Park. The Lobo trainee is 0 for 5 since landing in the U.S. from Argentina where is won a couple of G1 races. He came up three lengths short to Arklow two back when sixth in the Louisville (G3) at this distance but willing to give him one more look here as he is going to end up a generous price.
This colt has made two starts in the U.S. and was off poorly in both. He ran last in the Shoemaker Mile (G1) two back in his U.S. debut which was off an eight-month layoff. Last out off a three month break he was off poorly, came wide into the stretch and checked in eighth while beaten two lengths in the Del Mar ‘Cap (G2) at 1 3/8 miles. Prat picks up the call as he makes his third start for McCarthy and stretches out to 1 ½ miles. He won the Gallinule Stakes (G3) at the Curragh last June at 1 ¼ miles, then was 10th in the Irish Derby (G1) where he was sent off at 8-1. Another move forward for this guy can put him in the mix here at he is going to get overlooked in the betting.