This final weekend of September will feature the last prep appearance of the likely morning line favorite for the Breeders Cup Classic, the new and very much improved Lawyer Ron, in Sundays Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park.

Just as anticipated, however, will be the day before at Turfway Park, showcasing the first two finishers of this years Kentucky Derby; Street Sense and Hard Spun, in the G2 Kentucky Cup Classic.

The racing office in Florence will be scrambling all week to get as many as three or four hardy equine souls to meet the big two, even if they have older rivals to fill the bill.

This spot makes sense for Carl Nafzgers colt. No traveling to Chicago or New York from his Churchill Downs base in. Just a short van ride instead. No 10-furlong gut-wrencher. And past performances that include two top-flight scores in major spots following a Polytrack prep.

But it might be easier for Hard Spun to beat him at nine furlongs at Turfway than it will be for Lawyer Ron to beat Street Sense at Monmouth Park going 10 furlongs.

The most obvious reason is that while hes OK on artificial surfaces, Street Sense is much better on dirt. And, of course, this isnt the main goal. That will come four weeks later, so those screws won't be fastened tightly. Finally, its a speed-friendlier nine furlongs; not a demanding, class-defining mile and a quarter.

Then theres Hard Spuns talent, and the fact he does well when stretching out from one turn to two. He was an impressive winner on Polytrack this spring. He looms the controlling speed and comes off a new pace top on the Equiform scale, a positive pattern.

What this all means from a handicapping perspective is that Hard Spun has the edge and should loom a narrow favorite. But the public loves Derby winners, Travers-winning Derby winners at that. Street Sense will be the favorite. Which makes Hard Spun the upset play in the Kentucky Cup Classic.