One Dreamer heads Kentucky Downs’ 9/7 card

FRANKLIN, Ky. (Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023) – Racing resumes at the FanDuel Meet Kentucky Downs Thursday with a 10-race program that features the $500,000 Jeff Ruby One Dreamer Stakes.

Post time for the opener at all-turf Kentucky Downs is 12:30 p.m. Central. Seven of the 10 races Thursday are likely to have full fields of 12 horses. Two of the races have 12 entered, while five others were over-subscribed and have horses on their also-eligible lists.

Through the first three days of the seven-day 2023 meet, the average field size in the 33 races was 10.6 starters and the average win price was $16.54. Sixteen of the 33 races run had full fields. The range in win prices were from $3.16 for Stone Farm’s Swore’s four-length score in a $153,500 maiden special weight race Sunday to the $76.52 paid in the $500,000 FanDuel Tapit Stakes after the victory by Graham Grace Stable’s Harlan Estate.

Favorites won nine times (27 percent). None of those winners was sent off at odds greater than 2.40-1.

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 delivered at 37-1. Handicappers were on-target with the three horses made odds-on favorites: two won and the other one finished second.

While Ellis Park has produced the most winners, 16, at Kentucky Downs thus far, winners have come from six other U.S. tracks, one from Canada and one from England.

The Ellis to Kentucky Downs angle has been strong, with 48.5 percent of the winners having last raced at the Henderson, Ky., track. It is a notable statistic when compared to last year’s overall stats when 17 winners from a total of 73 races last raced at the “Pea Patch”. In the sixth race on Saturday, which had a full field of 12, Ellis Park runners finished one-two at odds of 22-1 and 37-1, respectively. There was only one other starter coming out of Ellis in the field.

As usual, runners from Saratoga have been strong with eight victories. Horses that last raced at Colonial Downs have won twice. Belmont Park, Delaware Park, England’s Goodwood, Gulfstream Park, Indiana Grand and Canada’s Woodbine have each produced one winner.

So far, just one debut starter has prevailed in the 12 maiden races. Last year, there were six debut winners, an unusually high number.

After three days of racing at the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs, Jose Ortiz is atop the jockey standings with four wins. That is one more than defending champion Tyler Gaffalione, Florent Geroux and Declan Cannon. Mike Maker, the all-time winningest trainer at Kentucky Downs has won three races so far and is tied at the top with Brendan Walsh. No owner has more than one win thus far.

In the One Dreamer: Joseph Allen’s lightly raced For the Flag appears the one to catch in the field of nine fillies and mares in the $500,000 stakes. The 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly is 3-1-0 in seven starts after going 0 for 3 at age 2 and missing her entire 3-year-old season. Turned over to New York-based trainer Jimmy Toner, For the Flag won three-straight races to start 2023 before leading into the final strides of Ellis Park’s Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf, settling for second by three-quarters of a length.

The Brendan Walsh-trained European import Viareggio seeks her first U.S. win in four starts. Jubilee Bridge comes in off two-straight allowance victories for trainer Michael Stidham. Kate’s Kingdom, trained by Will Walden, was a Grade 3 winner in Canada last year. Others in the race: Sister Lou Ann, Candy Light and Present Moment.

Grade 2 winner Haughty, who two years ago was a very good third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, was scratched out of the One Dreamer in favor of Saturday’s $1 million Castle Hill Gaming Ladies Turf (G3). Sinfiltre, third in the Ellis Park prep, is cross-entered in both the One Dreamer and Saturday’s $1 million Aristocrat Ladies Marathon.

Thursday forecast: Sunny and 82 after Wednesday’s showers

Overnight and morning rain showers soaked the Kentucky Downs course Wednesday.

“It’s not going to be real firm,” Butch Lehr, the consultant who serves as Kentucky Downs’ track superintendent, said of Thursday’s course condition. “I really won’t know until the morning, but I’ll probably rate it ‘good’ in the morning, but that could change by race time. We’re going to wait until the morning to roll it, and it should be all right by race time. There’s a pretty good breeze out there, and that should help it dry out quite a bit.”

Two 2-year-old mile stakes on tap for Sunday

Aspenite, who narrowly lost the $250,000 Keeneland September Yearling Sales allowance race on opening day of the FanDuel Meet at Kentucky Downs, runs back 11 days later in Sunday’s $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile.

Owned by Kentucky Downs co-managing partner Ron Winchell, Aspenite set the pace before settling to fourth in his debut at Saratoga in a mile maiden race that came off the turf. He set the pace again in the Kentucky Downs allowance race, leading by three lengths at the eighth-pole before finishing second by a half-length. Cristian Torres picks up the mount for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen.

Saffie Joseph sends out Ken Ramsey’s Billy the Greek, who boasts a nose win at Saratoga in a maiden race and a fourth in the Skidmore, both races taken off the turf. Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard.

Others in the full field of 12 include maiden winners from a variety of tracks: Sambalover (at Horseshoe Indy), Tough Little Nut (Hawthorne), Legal Titan (Ellis Park), Rose Collector (Monmouth Park), Value Engineer (Horseshoe Indy), Blue Eyed George (Ellis), Good Bali (Ellis), Mozlzil (Ellis) and Baytown Parfait (in a $50,000 maiden-claiming race at Ellis Park). Gamblin George, fifth in his only start at Colonial Downs, completes the field.

A capacity field of 12, plus an also-eligible, also was entered Tuesday for Sunday’s co-featured $500,000 Global Tote Juvenile Fillies. Kodiac Wintergreen, trained by Rusty Arnold for Houston Astros standout Alex Bregman, comes in off a maiden victory at Saratoga in her second start.

The Tom Morley-trained Belmont maiden winner Cynane comes to Kentucky Downs after finishing out of the money in a stakes at Royal Ascot.

Carlos Santamaria, the longtime assistant trainer who earned his first victory as a trainer when Bella Haze won an Ellis Park maiden race, will try that filly on turf for the first time in the stakes.

Sea Dancer and Latte Lizzie come into the stakes after finishing second and third, respectively, in a fast-run maiden race at Saratoga. Coming out of Ellis Park maiden victories are Fancy Looker, Beautiful Dancer, Austere and Sweetcatherinerose; from Colonial Downs (Mo Fox Givin), Indiana (Kamikazi Umagi) and Presque Isle (Shot Girl).

One Dreamer heads Kentucky Downs' 9/7 card - Kentucky Downs