FRANKLIN, Ky. (Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017) -- Miss Temple City — who beat boys last year to sweep Keeneland’s Grade 1 Maker’s 46 Mile and $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile — will run in this Saturday’s $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, a mile stakes enjoying its first time as a Grade 3 race.
The Ladies Turf is part of Kentucky Downs’ four-stakes signature card headlined by the $600,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup.
The 5-year-old Miss Temple City could ship from trainer Graham Motion’s Maryland base Wednesday.
Miss Temple City certainly is used to unusual race courses, let alone traveling, having competed the past three summers at England’s famed Royal Ascot meet, with a pair of fourths. The $1.4 million-earner was 13th this June at Ascot, her first start in almost six months, then six weeks later was third in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Matchmaker.
“We just had kind of a screwed-up schedule this year, and we’re just trying to get her back on track,” Motion said by phone. “We were really disappointed with her last race at Monmouth. But this race just ties in really well with Keeneland. We know how much she likes Keeneland, so that’s where we’d like to end up.”
Motion has two horses running in this Wednesday’s showcase card, also featuring four stakes, that had to be postponed from last Saturday after six inches of rain hit the area.
The trainer was a bit surprised hear Irish Strait is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in Wednesday’s $400,000 Tourist Mile. But the 5-year-old gelding is arguably the most consistent horse in the field of eight, especially on the turf. The son of turf champion English Channel won Monmouth Park’s Grade 3 Red Bank two races ago at 9-1 and was second in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes.
Irish Straight is out of the same mare (Irish Sovereign) as Irish War Cry, the 2017 Wood Memorial winner who was second in the Belmont Stakes after finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby. Irish War Cry was sired by Curlin, who like English Channel is a son of Smart Strike. Both horses are owned by Isabelle De Tomaso. Of course, Irish Sovereign has made only about one-quarter of what his kid brother has earned in the lucrative 3-year-old dirt races.
“Maybe Irish War Cry is going to be a grass horse, I don’t know,” Motion said by phone. “They are very similar types, actually, have very similar characteristics. This horse has just gotten much better as he’s gotten older. This year he’s just been a different horse than last year. His races this year, every time he’s run he’s been very competitive.”
As a New Jersey-bred, Irish Straight is competing for $200,000 rather than the full $400,000 available to Kentucky-born horses. But, said Motion, “$200,000 is still a nice purse. He could have run for $100,000 at Philadelphia Park next weekend.”
Motion also has Boreale in the $150,000 One Dreamer for fillies and mares who have not won a stakes in 2017. While Boreale ran her first two seasons in France, she is Kentucky-bred and therefore competes for the entire pot. In two U.S. starts for West Point Thoroughbreds, the 4-year-old filly won a Delaware allowance race and was third in a $75,000 stakes in West Virginia.
“If the grass is a little softer, I don’t think that’s going to hurt her,” Motion said.