The Pickett Factor at 8-5 in Super Derby
The Pickett Factor was made a slight morning-line favorite over Allied Air Raid for the Grade 2, $400,000 Super Derby on Saturday at Louisiana Downs. Entries for the 1 1/8-mile race were taken Wednesday.
The field of seven also includes Prime Engine, the Washington invader who will break from the rail, and Mobile Bay, who will break from post 7 under Edgar Prado.
The Pickett Factor, who was made 8-5 for the Super Derby, and Allied Air Raid, 9-5, ran one-two in last month’s $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs. The Pickett Factor earned a fees-paid berth into the Super Derby by virtue of the win. He will break from post 3 under Donnie Meche. Allied Air Raid will start from post 5 under Chris Landeros.
Russ Ramstad, who set the Super Derby line for Louisiana Downs, noted that Allied Air Raid was 4-5 and The Pickett Factor 5-2 for the Prelude. He thinks The Pickett Factor might be favored Saturday after his Prelude win.
“But it will be really close,” he said. “It’s a coin flip.”
The Super Derby will anchor a 13-race card Saturday. There is an early post of noon Central for the card, which includes seven stakes worth a total of $900,000. The Super Derby is the final leg of an all-stakes pick four that runs on races 8-11 and has a guaranteed pool of $100,000.
The Super Derby field from the rail with riders and morning-line odds: Prime Engine, Joe Steiner, 9-2; Four Leaf Chief, Gerard Melancon, 12-1; The Pickett Factor, 8-5, Meche; Fusaichi Flame, Shane Laviolette, 20-1; Allied Air Raid, Landeros, 9-5; Chocopologie, Richard Eramia, 12-1; Mobile Bay, Prado, 6-1.
The Pickett Factor defeated four of his Super Derby rivals in the Prelude. He was making his stakes debut in the race, and it marked his third straight win. Ralph Irwin trains The Pickett Factor for Melissa Cantacuzene.
Prime Engine enters the Super Derby off a six-length win in the Emerald Derby. Mobile Bay was third in the Prelude after winning back-toback statebred stakes at Evangeline Downs.
Kentucky Downs: Turf Cup
The richest card in Kentucky Downs history will conclude Saturday with the lone graded race of the five-day meet, the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup, a 1 1/2-mile race that drew an oversubscribed field of older turf horses.
The $600,000 Turf Cup is one of four stakes and the finale on a 10-race program with a potential value of more than $2.2 million in combined purses. The other stakes, each worth $300,000, directly precede the Turf Cup as races 7-9. First post is 1:35 p.m. Central at the turf-only track in south-central Kentucky.
Here is a quick rundown of the Saturday stakes:
Grade 3, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (race 10, post 6:10 Central): Trainer Mike Maker has three of the 12 starters in the main body but none for his longtime main clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who happen to be represented with one of the probable favorites, Hyper, in here with Chad Brown. The Maker runners are Da Big Hoss, Roman Approval, and Quiet Force.
It’s a nearly inscrutable race with a sufficient amount of pace in the form of Roman Approval, Az Ridge, and Dramedy, while most of the field has experience in graded events and/or grass marathons such as this. Track oddsmaker Joe Kristufek said he found the top contenders “hard to separate,” and it will be a surprise if the posttime favorite is lower than 3-1, assuming the field holds intact.
The Turf Cup (formerly the Kentucky Cup Turf ) has been the signature race at Kentucky Downs since 1991, except for when it was not run in 1996-97. It will be the final leg of an allstakes pick four wager.
$300,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash (race 9, 5:40): While owner Jim Mcingvale thought long and hard about running King’s Bishop winner Runhappy right back in this 6 1/2-furlong race, he relented,
leaving a well-matched field of 11. Green Mask, making his first start since finishing third in the $1 million Al Quoz Sprint on the March 28 Dubai World Cup undercard for Wesley Ward, could go off as a lukewarm favorite over Holy Lute, Channel Marker, and Mosler.
$300,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (race 8, 5:09): Shrinking Violet stretches out off a 104 Beyer Speed Figure, and Theatre Star turns back from longer races when shipping in from Southern California to take part in a very intriguing 6 1/2-furlong race that also drew Nassau Stakes winner Sky Treasure and a handful of other viable contenders. Twelve fillies and mares are entered.
$300,000 Dueling Grounds Derby (race 7, 4:38): Closing Bell, the 14-1 runner-up behind run-off winner Highland Reel in the Grade 1 Secretariat last out, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite for Winstar Farm and trainer Bill Mott in a 1 5/16-mile race that drew 11 3-year-olds.
Belmont Park: Sands Point
The European invasion that New York Racing Association officials had hoped would materialize for the Stars and Stripes card two months ago happened for Saturday’s Grade 2, $500,000 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park.
Only two European-based 3-year-old fillies came across the pond for the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 4. But four European-based runners help make up a 12-horse field – including one for the main track only – entered Wednesday for the Sands Point. Like the Belmont Oaks, the Sands Point is a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-old fillies.
Europe will be represented by multiple Group 3 winners Osaila and Malabar as well as Iromea and Blond Me.
For Osaila, this will be her second trip to the U.S. Last fall, she shipped to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and finished third, five lengths behind winner Lady Eli.
“She was running on,” trainer Richard Hannon said by phone Wednesday from Doncaster, England. “She liked the racetrack. She’s run very well this year.”
Osaila has two wins and a second-place finish from four starts this year. Her only bad race was a seventh in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket in May.
The Sands Point will be the first race beyond a mile for Osaila, who has won at seven furlongs and a mile. Hannon believes the added distance will only help Osaila, who will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 9.
Malabar is coming off a Group 3 victory over males at Goodwood after competing in five consecutive Group 1 races resulting in a trio of fourthplace finishes.
Malabar is trained by Michael Channon, who in 2012 sent Samitar to the U.S., where she finished third, beaten a neck, in the Grade 2 Lake Placid at Saratoga. Samitar stayed in the U.S. with Chad Brown and won the Grade 1 Garden City over this course.
Asked about Malabar, assistant trainer Michael Channon Jr. wrote in an e-mail: “She’s a proven Group 3 winner with a high level of form at [the] Group 1 level at home, and we learned from Samitar that fillies can make the trip over to the States and compete.”
Blond Me finished second in a Group 2 at Sandown last out, and Iromea has one win from three career starts. Iromea is expected to stay in the U.S. with Christophe Clement after this race.
The U.S. will be well represented with Lake Placid Stakes one-two finishers Sentiero Italia and Miss Temple City in the field as well as Grade 2 Lake George winner Mrs Mcdougal, who drew post 11.
The rest of those entered for turf are Her Emmynency, second in the Del Mar Oaks; Cara Marie, third in the Lake Placid; Marabea, an allowance winner at Delaware; and Tapitry, second in a first-level allowance at Saratoga. Pangburn was entered for the main track only.
Churchill: Juvenile stakes
It’s nearly eight months away, but that won’t stop racing fans from thinking about the first weekend in May at Churchill Downs when backto-back stakes for 2-year-olds are run Saturday as part of a four-stakes package.
The Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois Stakes is the first of 35 points races toward the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Similarly, the Grade 2, $200,000 Pocahontas Stakes – the richest race of the September meet – is the first of 31 points races to the 2016 Kentucky Oaks. The winner of each 1 1/16 -mile race will earn 10 eligibility points.
The Iroquois, which drew 12 colts and geldings, goes as the ninth of 11 races on a Saturday program that starts at 12:45 p.m. Eastern. There are two winners of ungraded stakes – Cocked and Loaded (Tremont) and Expected Ruler (Tyro) – and five maidens in what shapes up as a fascinating handicapping event, especially with most of them stretching out for the first time.
The Pocahontas, with eight fillies, directly precedes the Iroquois as the eighth race and figures to have a solid favorite in Just Wicked, the winner of the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga in her last start. Jose Ortiz will be in from New York to ride the Tapit homebred Just Wicked for Winchell Thoroughbreds and trainer Steve Asmussen.
Both the Iroquois and Pocahontas are Win and You’re In events toward the Oct. 30 -31 Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland.
The Saturday card also includes two ungraded $100,000 stakes, both for fillies and mares: the Open Mind (race 5) at six furlongs and the Locust Grove (race 10) at 1 1/16 miles.
Prime Engine wins the Emerald Derby by six lengths Aug. 9.