Race of the Week: Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs | Saturday, September 10, 2022

The Lead:
The turf hits continue Saturday at Kentucky Downs when 6 graded stakes worth just a shade under $5 million share the spotlight. The seven-figure centerpiece is the 1-1/2 miles Kentucky Downs Turf Cup, which will go as Race 10 of 12. The lineup also boasts the $1 million Mint Million, rescheduled from last week after a weather postponement.

​Horseplayers on the 1/ST BET and Xpressbet platforms can take advantage of up to a $10 money-back special on all Kentucky Downs races during the 2022 meeting. If your win bet finishes second or third, you'll be refunded up to $10 when you play with 1/ST BET and Xpressbet.

​Field Depth:  
Grade 1 winners ARKLOW and GUFO are no stranger to the upper echelon of American turf racing. TEMPLE is a Grade 2 winner, while Grade 3 winners include RED KNIGHT, ADMISSION OFFICE, ANOTHER MYSTERY and BREAKPOINT -- the latter a Group 1 winner in Chile as well. The class edge here clearly sits with GUFO and ARKLOW.

Good lucking finding it, much less evaluating it. This turf marathon doesn't have a committed front-runner, though BREAKPOINT took advantage of a similar set-up and wired the 14-furlong San Juan Capistrano last time out. Outside-drawn HIGHEST HONORS typically sits closest to the front among these, but hasn't been on the engine. A dawdling pace may come from this leading pair. You won't want to be terribly far back with this set-up.

Our Eyes:
ARKLOW is a 2-time Ketucky Turf Cup winner in 2018 and 2020. His 4: 2-2-0 record really stands out against the 1-for-7 mark the rest of this field owns combined. The earner of $3 million-plus comes in fresh off a single start in 2022, a rock-solid second in the Bowling Green at Saratoga at a trip shorter than this and not his best distance. He's back to what he does best, and jockey Florent Geroux is a 4-time winner of this race. The question is if ARKLOW can keep firing at age 8. The last 8-year-old to win this race was 2012 (Ioya Bigtime).

GUFO wheels back just 2 weeks after one of the best performances of his career, winning Saratoga's G1 Sword Dancer. He hasn't been apt to pair up consecutive graded stakes victories, but even his 'off' efforts usually see him right in the mix late. He seems to run his best in blinkers, which were added back prior to the Sword Dancer. Jockey Joel Rosario owned the Spa stakes schedule this summer with a dynamite riding performance.

Trainer Mike Maker has a record 4 wins in this stakes race and sends out 4 chances to gain a fifth. He'll have RED KNIGHT, TEMPLE, KEYSTONE KNIGHT and GLYNN COUNTY. RED KNIGHT was runner-up here in 2020 to ARKLOW and exits a victory in the Colonial Turf Cup in Virginia. He runs his best races when not so far back in the pack, and hustling rider Gerardo Corrales from the rail could put RED KNIGHT into the race earlier given the likely slow pace projection.

Others in the field include ANOTHER MYSTERY for 2-time Kentucky Turf Cup winner Chris Block, class rising HIGHEST HONORS for top local rider Tyler Gaffalione and turf maestro Chad Brown, ADMISSION OFFICE exiting a sub-par Arlington Million by historical standards and BREAKPOINT for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale, the Chileans third different conditioner since arriving in the US just 6 starts ago.

Most Certain Exotics Contender:
ARKLOW loves the course and comes in fresh with a rider who knows every inch of the proper trip.

Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
At 15-1 morning line, RED KNIGHT interests me from a pace and course perspective.

Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$80 win ARKLOW. $20 exacta ARKLOW over RED KNIGHT.