Kentucky Downs has been awarded its second Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series stakes for the 2021 race meet in early September. For the first time, the $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2) will be a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), joining the $1 million Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (G3) that two years ago became an automatic qualifier for the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). “There already were a million reasons for owners and trainers to send their turf sprinter or distance grass horse to Kentucky Downs," said Ted Nicholson, Kentucky Downs' Vice President for Racing. "Now there’s even more incentive."
Donegal Racing's well-traveled Grade 1-winner Arklow - who won Kentucky Downs' $1 million Calumet Turf Cup for the second time in three years -- was honored Wednesday for his exploits right at home as the 6-year-old horse was feted as the 2020 Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund’s Earner of the Year. “We’re very excited about this award for Arklow. It’s very cool,” said Jerry Crawford, founder and president of the Des Moines-based Donegal Racing partnership. “This business is so, so hard for owners. When you get a horse that can pay some feed bills, it’s gratifying in multiple ways to say nothing of all the excitement it creates."
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The class of the field ran like it Friday at Del Mar as two-time Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup winner Arklow tracked close to the leaders in the 12-furlong Hollywood Turf Cup, then got the jump on his chief rivals turning for home and went on to an impressive half-length score in the $203,500, Grade 2 headliner.
Arklow’s connections say he’s a different horse since blinkers were added for the $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup on Sept. 12, which proved his second triumph in Kentucky Downs’ signature race in three years. Saying he’s different is saying something, given that Donegal Racing’s 6-year-old Arklow had earned almost $2 million in 28 races without blinkers, including victory in New York’s Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic last year. Now he'll try to win the $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf on his third attempt.
he fields are set for America’s biggest day of turf racing this year outside the Breeders’ Cup, with a sensational stakes quintet on tap Saturday at the RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs.
Each stakes on the Calumet Farm Day program is worth at least $500,000, with the four Grade 3 stakes highlighted by the $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup at 1 1/2 miles. The other graded stakes are the $700,000 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint at six furlongs, whose winner will receive a fees-paid spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint Nov. 7 at Keeneland as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series’ “Win and You’re In” program, along with the $500,000 English Channel Ladies Turf at a mile, the $500,000 Real Solution Ladies Sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs and the $500,000 Bal a Bali Juvenile Turf Sprint at 6 1/2 furlongs.
How is Ellis Starr betting Saturday's marquee $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup? Read on!
Gary Barber’s 5-year-old mare Got Stormy, one of America’s premier turf milers of either sex, will try something at Kentucky Downs for the first time in a career that to date has spanned 23 starts, eight victories and $1.6 million in earnings. Trainer Mark Casse said that Got Stormy, seeking her first in in 2020, will run in the $500,000, Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint on Sept. 12 at 6 1/2 furlongs. It will be the first time she has sprinted. In fact, the only time Got Stormy has raced at shorter than a mile was her debut as 2-year-old in a 7 1/2-furlong race, which at Gulfstream Park is staged around two turns. This and more in today's Kentucky Downs media notes!
Grade 1 winners Zulu Alpha and Arklow, the past two winners of the $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup, are among the 53 horses nominated to Kentucky Downs’ signature stakes at 1 1/2 miles. Both horses are scheduled to run in the Grade 3 race that ranks among America's richest stakes on grass.
Having beaten America's best 1 1/2-mile turf specialists in his last start, Donegal Racing's Grade 1-winning turf star Arklow takes on the world next in the $4 million Longines Breeders' Cup Turf on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park. “I don’t know if Arklow can beat Bricks and Mortar or the Europeans,” said Arklow’s trainer Brad Cox. “But I do know that Arklow is coming into the race 100 percent physically and just had one of the finest workouts in his life at Churchill on Saturday.”
Arklow on Saturday tries to become only the third horse to win the Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup twice. Happily for owner Donegal Racing, trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux, the most lucrative race of the RUNHAPPY Meet at Kentucky Downs this year now carries a $1 million purse. That and more in today's barn notes.