With a $700,000 purse and a “Win and You’re In” berth to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) on the line, Saturday’s Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) at Kentucky Downs has attracted a top-notch field of turf sprinters.
Among the major names entered in this six-furlong dash are globetrotting graded/group winners #9 Stormy Liberal (a two-time winner of the grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint), #5 Undrafted (victorious in the 2015 group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot) and #3 Imprimis (a fast 5-year-old who nabbed the grade 2 Shakertown Stakes at Keeneland earlier this year). Grade 1 winner #1 Wet Your Whistle and the up-and-coming Troy Stakes (G3) victor #8 Leinster add further depth to this competitive field.
Despite the success and international experience of the major players, I believe a local runner will emerge victorious in the Runhappy Turf Sprint. He is not as accomplished, but if you’re overlooking #10 Totally Boss, I think you’re overlooking the winner.
Totally Boss didn’t show much as a 3-year-old in 2018, when he went 2-for-8 and missed the trifecta in his two stakes attempts. But the gelded son of Street Boss has come back a different horse this year, and he upped his game significantly for trainer Rusty Arnold. He’s a nose away from being 4-for-4 in 2019, with his lone defeat coming in an allowance at Churchill Downs, in which Totally Boss ran into traffic against 2016 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runner-up Om.
This setback proved only temporary, as Totally Boss successfully handled a jump in class when he rallied to win the Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Sprint Stakes by a half-length over defending winner #7 Jazzy Times, which earned solid speed figures of 97 (Beyer) and 98 (Brisnet).
Totally Boss has never run over the unique, European-style turf course at Kentucky Downs, but he’ll have a couple factors in his favor. Arnold has secured the services of Florent Geroux, the most successful rider at Kentucky Downs over the last five years, and Totally Boss has drawn post 10 (outside draws are generally favorable at Kentucky Downs).
In a race where big-name contenders figure to be supported more for their past glories than their recent achievements, the improving form of Totally Boss is appealing. If he stays near his 6-1 morning line odds, I’ll support him heavily on the win end and play him on top of an exacta, with #6 White Flag (runner-up in this race last year), Imprimis and Leinster underneath.
$21 to win on #10 Totally Boss
$3 exacta: 10 with 3,6,8 ($9)