Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Could Have Breeders' Cup Implications

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September 5th, 2018

If you’re excited about the inaugural scheduled to be held in November at Churchill Downs, then you won’t want to miss Saturday’s $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs.

The 6 ½-furlong event is a perfect prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint and figures to produce at least one and perhaps several starters for the $1 million championship prize. And since the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint offers a hefty purse in its own right, turnout for the race has been strong with eleven colts, geldings, and fillies entering the race.

Leading the charge are Moonlight Romance and Mae Never No, two fillies from the barn of Wesley Ward, who is well-known for his success training fast juvenile sprinters. Mae Never No is the more accomplished of the pair, having won the Colleen Stakes at Monmouth Park last month by seven lengths, but she’ll be making her turf debut on Saturday. In contrast, Moonlight Romance broke her maiden by 5 ½ lengths over the Belmont Park turf course in May before traveling across the pond to Royal Ascot, where she finished mid-pack in the Windsor Castle Stakes against males.

Speaking of males, there are some good ones lined up to face the Ward-trained fillies in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint. First and foremost among them is Chattel, who already has five starts under his belt. His dirt efforts have been only so-so, but he’s a nose away from being unbeaten in three starts on turf, a streak that includes a decisive victory in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga last month.

Then there’s Faraway Kitten, a son of Kitten’s Joy bred and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The colt debuted in a seven-furlong sprint over the Tapeta track at Woodbine and prevailed in gate-to-wire fashion, but his pedigree suggests that turf will be his preferred surface, so expect Faraway Kitten to take a step forward on Saturday.

Cardinal Coach Mac and Mine Inspector, maiden winners over the turf course at Ellis Park, bring experience on grass into the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint field, while Perfect Answer, Sovereign Impact, and Blame the Frog—winners of off-the-turf maiden events throughout the Midwest—will all be trying turf for the first time.

Completing the field are Carter Cat, who finished fifth in the Skidmore Stakes behind Chattel, and Life Mission, who ships in from Ireland off a pair of third-place finishers in maiden races at the Curragh.

The Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint is the sixth race on the Saturday card, with a post time of 4:55 p.m. Eastern.