The Horse Race Insider is a privately owned magazine. All copyrights reserved. “Bet with your head, not over it.”

The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing


Edited Ky Downs Staff Release  Kentucky Downs closes out its seven-day run with some familiar horses. Three Diamonds Farm’s Buttercream Babe, who won the very first race of the FanDuel Meet, returns in Wednesday’s $500,000 Pepsi Untapable Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

There she’ll face off with another opening-day winner in Hidden Class, the Untapable’s 7-2 favorite. Hidden Class captured the $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sale 2-year-old fillies allowance race, also on opening day.

Wednesday’s first post is 12:30 p.m CT for the 10-race card.

One 2-year-old who ran opening day already has run back to great success. Aspenite, second in the boys division of the allowance race restricted to horses that went through the ring at last year’s Keeneland September sale, captured Sunday’s $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile 11 days later.

In Wednesday’s $500,000 Pepsi Juvenile Sprint, Darkroom — who turned in a disappointing effort as the favorite in the Keeneland allowance race, looks to make amends in the 6 1/2-furlong stakes. Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Darkroom won his debut at Ellis Park. He picks up the services of jockey Declan Cannon, who will try for his third stakes victory of the short meet.

With the filly Baytown Bama Girl scratched on Tuesday, the Juvenile Sprint has a field of nine heading into Wednesday.

Trainer Joe Sharp hadn’t planned on running Hidden Class back in the Untapable and already had two fillies targeting the 6 1/2-furlong stakes. He also has Honey Dijon, a winner at Saratoga in an off-the-turf maiden race, and Sweetcatherinerose, who impressively won an Ellis Park maiden turf sprint with a $50,000 claiming price in her debut. Sweetcatherinerose needed a scratch to get into the race off the also-eligible list, but received that Tuesday. No. 14 Judy Elaine also draws in after the scratches of Determined Driver and Determined Sail.

“Obviously you like to keep them separated for your own interests and that of the owners,” Sharp said. “That being said, there’s not really any offerings for 2-year-old fillies sprinting on the grass at Churchill or Keeneland. Basically we’re trying to do right by everybody, and give them the opportunity to run here. There’s plenty of reward if you’re able to do so successfully. At the end of the day, you’re running against each other but you’re doing the right thing for each owner. Because that’s the right spot for each horse.”

Buttercream Babe, with Irad Ortiz Jr. gaining the mount, is one of 10 horses seven-time Kentucky Downs meet-leader Mike Maker has entered for Wednesday. Maker, who will saddle Saratoga New York-bred maiden winner Jimmythetooth in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Sprint, comes into the closing card trailing Brendan Walsh 7-5 for the most wins. Walsh has four horses entered, the last being in the seventh race on the 10-race card.

Maker is having another extremely productive meet that could have been much better had a few of his meet-leading nine seconds been wins. Maker owns the all-time meet record for runner-up finishes at 14 in 2019, when he won three races. He captured the 2022 Kentucky Downs training title with a record 12 wins, but also had 11 seconds.

Tyler Gaffalione, who earned his second Kentucky Downs riding title last year with nine victories, takes a 9-7 win advantage over Joel Rosario heading into Wednesday. Gaffalione is named to ride all 10 races, with Rosario in eight, including riding Hidden Class. Also in the hunt for the riding title is Florent Geroux, who has six wins but whose $2,733,769 in purse earnings leads the standings. Geroux is scheduled to ride seven races.

Rosario set a record with 17 wins at the 2021 Kentucky Downs meet. Geroux won the 2015 and 2016 titles with 12 wins both years.

Purse money has been widely distributed as only three owners have as many as two wins: George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stables, Kirk Wycoff’s Three Diamonds Farm, and eight-time meet-leader Ken Ramsey.

Kentucky Downs stats (compiled by Dick Downey)

Favorites: In the first six days of racing, favorites won 20 of 66 races, or 30 percent. The national average is about 33 percent. None of them was sent off at odds greater than 2.97-1. The lowest-odds winner was Oeuvre 0.35-1, trained by Chris Block.

There were almost as many winners sent off at double-digit odds as there were winning favorites. Eight winners left the gate at 10-1 or more, led by Harlan Estate who hit the wire first in the opening-day feature at 37-1.

Last-race venues: Winners at Kentucky Downs through the first six days of the meet last raced at 15 different tracks: 11 in the U. S. and one each in Barbados, Canada, England and France.

Of the 66 winners tabulated so far, 26 last raced at Ellis Park. Last year 17 winners from a total of 73 races at Kentucky Downs ran at the Henderson, Ky., track in their previous start. Saratoga continued its strong showing with 16 winners having last raced there compared to 16 for the entire 2022 meet.

Horses that last raced at Colonial Downs have won five races, with three for Monmouth Park. Indiana Grand, Delaware Park and Del Mar have produced two winners each. Garrison Savannah in Barbados, Belmont Park, France’s Chantilly, England’s Goodwood, Gulfstream Park, Hawthorne and Canada’s Woodbine each has produced one winner, and another successful runner raced at Kentucky Downs on opening day.

So far two debut starters have prevailed in 23 maiden races. Last year there were six debut winners overall, an unusually high number.

Facebook Share
Twitter Share
LinkedIn Share

⚠ Before you comment

Our staff likes nothing better than to engage with the HRI Faithful and provide a forum for interaction on horseracing and sports. In that spirit, please be kind and reasonable; keep the language clean, and the tone civil. Comments from those who cannot comply will be deleted. Thank you.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *