KD Turf Cup (Grade 3)- $750.000 Purse
KD- For Three Year Olds and Upward
One Mile and One Half on the Turf
September 8, 2018
This weekend, some of the biggest racing of the day takes place at KD, and the top race of the card is the fifth running of the KD Turf Cup. The race first appeared on our schedule in 2011, though took a couple years to reappear, and did so with a large purse increase, all the way up to $600.000, in 2014. This year, we see yet another increase to the current $750.000 level, and not surprisingly, many of the top BC Turf hopefuls have made their way to the race. Drabfantasy has been the most successful trainer in the race, and will look to extend his personal winning streak in the stake to three. In 2016, he won with Grande Sournoise, and a year later won with Romantic Pirate. Grande Sournoise would use the win to lead the way into the BC Turf, though for Romantic Pirate the results after the race were not the same. Now, it’s a son of Grande Sournoise trying to get the win for the trainer as one of his two entries in the field, but will have to do so from the outside. Let’s meet him and the eleven starting to his inside for this race!
#1- Bandito (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by J R Velazquez)- His three year old season saw some attempts at the TC Chase, and other then a fourth place check in the Withers, there was not much the trainer got out of it. In May, he transitioned to the grass, and would run third in the Grade 2 MTH Stakes. That stands as his biggest effort on the turf to this point, as he has not been able to get away from wet tracks lately. There is an 80% chance of showers at KD on Saturday, something he and everyone else will need to take into account.
#2- B K D Express (Drabfantasy, ridden by J R Leparoux)- The first of two in the field for the trainer as he looks to win his third KD Turf Cup in a row. He has been versatile in his career based on distances run and on what surface. This makes him a bit tough to get a handle on, but his last race with similar conditions, the AP Handicap (Grade 3) in July, he did well to make up ground in the stretch to get up for fourth. B K D Express will have to be at his best here no matter what, and it is likely his odds will be similar to that of recent prior races.
#3- Request The Ex (Sharis Stables, ridden by E A Roman)- This will be his second race for the trainer after picking him up in a $45.000 claimer. Off that race, he ran second in the DMR Handicap, a Grade 2 in mid August. That would seem to be a jump in class, but on further look, we see a horse that has run at the graded level before, and even ran in the 2016 BC Juvenile Turf. He had won three of four prior to the claim, so perhaps he just needed a change of scenery to get back to running at this level.
#4- The Joker (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by F Pennington)- After being purchased for $800.000 from Maxmillion Farm after two highly impressive graded wins, D J C may have felt he was dealt a joker in their first race together, a surprisingly poor ninth place run in the Grade 1 AP Million. That race must be brushed off, and if it can be made a throw out, then we need to remember how well The Joker was prior to that race, because he was emerging as one of the top contenders in this division. The jockey change to the legendary F Pennington can be the shot in the arm this one needs.
#5- General White (Eastern Equine, ridden by Jef Sanchez)- Now at six years old, this Swarley horse has come a long way in his 27 race career. Acquired by Eastern Equine from Bigking for $500.000 in November 2015, General White has commanded several finishes in the money in graded stakes, but still is looking for that first graded win under his leadership. He did win one in the Bigking silks. Occasionally, he has a dud in his past performances, so hopefully that is the only reason for finishing poorly in the United Nations in June, the last time he has been at the track.
#6- Sweet Son (Hawaiian Shirt Guy, ridden by J J Castellano)- In 2015, Sweet Son would pick up a win in the prestigious $1,000.000 Pattison at WO. And that’s really been it for his career. After showing that promise, you have to think he has been very underwhelming, as he would not win again until April 2017, and that was a claimer. The trainer picked him up cheaply, all things considered, in the June auction this year for $18.000, and a few weeks later he was finishing second by a nose in the AP Handicap. Where did that come from? If only he followed it up well, but his DMR Handicap showing last month was a considerable disappointment.
#7- My Plucky (Hambletonian Stable, ridden by R M Hernandez)- Just two weeks ago, My Plucky ran in the Sword Dancer at SAR, and after setting the early pace, would tire into an eighth place showing. That was run differently then he usually likes to race, which is running in the middle of the field early. That strategy led to back to back wins in the Singspiel and the Nijinsky.up north at WO. The quick turnaround after that race makes me think he is going to back to that strategy here, so it will be interesting to watch him.
#8- The Laffin Sniper (Diablo Diablo, ridden by J L Ortiz)- Late last year, The Laffin Sniper was in a good mood following an impressive win at the Grade 1 HOL Derby. However, he never really seemed to build off that race, and his two graded runs after that leave a lot to be desired. There are open allowances sprinkled in between those races, and of them ended up with a win. It’s been six weeks since he last raced, and he must be working well to be able to get this chance, which also represents a distance increase for him.
#9- Spanish Showboat (Mb Stables, ridden by L H Colon)- This will be the 53rd race of his career, and probably about the 20th race that I have written up of his. Therefore, I can kinda feel like a broken record in regard to him, but this is truly one of the greats of the game. With over $4,000.000 in career earnings and sixteen victories, it has been a treat to watch him. With that, he is not slowing down either, as he has three wins this year, including the Grade 2 Whittingham at SA in May. More then likely, the eight year old will be back in the BC Turf, and in the meantime should be a considered one of the top horses here.
#10- Stop Rioja (Oquinn Farm, ridden by J Bravo)- It took this one a while to break his maiden, but finally, in his 7th attempt, he able to do so. The trainer at the time, Jader Stable, wasted no time putting him in a graded stake after that, and Stop Rioja rewarded his faith with a second place effort in the Grade 3 Transylvania. He was sold in private sales not too long after. Ran third in his last start, the KD Preview Turf Cup, and now looks to star in the main event. May have needed just a little more distance there, and he gets it here.
#11- Range Of The Sun (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by Mario Gutierrez)- Despite going off at 21/1 odds, Range Of The Sun was a popular pick for many in the survivor competition for the Pacific Classic, his last race. He did not run well there, finishing only eighth, which was a disappointment after a good win in the Gold Cup. It is now back to the grass for Range Of The Sun, where he has some experience in his past, though the bigger races of his career have been on the main track. To add to the challenge, he gets this post, which seemed to be a theme for the trainer’s entries when post draws for KD races were announced.
#12- Great Bounty (Drabfantasy, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- I have the “Like Father, Like Son” headline all ready for this race if Great Bounty gets the win. As previously mentioned, his sire is Grande Sournoise, the 2016 winner of this race. His dam, Broomsticks N Booty , was the winner of the 2015 KYO, so he is following in the lead of both of them, for sure. He has won three of eight, including the $400.000 Breeders Stakes for Canadians three weeks ago at WO. That is also run at today’s distance, and he earned a 97 SRF. The main question, naturally, is the post. In a race that is this long, the start will really be the key. Giving him the nod anyway.