KENTUCKY DOWN$ THE PLACE TO BE
On September 10, some big racing in the Thoroughbred world will be happening in a not so big place.
The unique and delightful Kentucky Downs is nestled in the countryside just north of the Tennessee border. Within eyesight of interstate 65, this turf only track is quickly making a name for itself as the place to be for five racing dates in September. If you are wondering just why folks will flock to Franklin, Kentucky, there are several reasons but one main attraction.
Yes, the Old Friends Farm for retired Thoroughbreds which features Rumor Has It, who won the 2008 Kentucky Turf Cup, is certainly a nice thing. The special layout of the track as the only European-style course in the United States is also a plus. But the biggest reason there is a good crowd is simple. It is the same thing that makes the world go round, money.
In recent years, Kentucky Downs has emerged as a major player among turf tracks. Yes the meet is very short, but the purses are outstanding. September 10 is the biggest day as it features four stakes races with the headliner being the grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup. Those four races are worth a combined $1.5 million. It is not rocket science, big payouts bring big-time horses and connections.
“I love taking horses to Kentucky Downs,” says Dale Romans, one of the top trainers in the game today. “I give a lot of credit to the folks at Kentucky Downs because they have worked hard and took some risks in trying to make it the place to be in early September. The track is well maintained and the purse money is very good. They have made it a target for horseman all across the country.”
The payouts are good for the runners for sure, but they are also not bad for the handicappers either. On opening day, September 3, the ten race card produced nine 10 cent superfecta bets that paid over $100 with two of them paying over $2800. The different style course with a hill incorporated makes long shot winners the norm. The chance to bet a little a win a lot is always enticing.
The money is the major force here, but history could be made in the headliner as Da Big Hoss will try and become just the second horse (Rochester 2002, 2003) to win the $600,000 Turf Cup twice. Trained by Mike Maker, the 5-year old son of Lemon Drop Kid has won three in a row and looks primed for more.
First post at Kentucky Downs for the 10 race card on September 10 is 1:25 pm central. And because the money is there, it’s the place to be.