Quiet Force, whose chances in last month’s Arlington Million (G1) might have been compromised when unexpected rain softened course conditions in the hours leading up to the event, will look to rebound Saturday in the $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) over 1 1/2 miles at Kentucky Downs.
Although a pari-mutuel outsider in the Million at 24-1, Quiet Force entered the race having won three of his previous four starts, including a signature win in the Arlington H. (G1) by three parts of a length. The Mike Maker trainee weakened to 10th in the 13-horse Million after racing five wide early.
Maker also saddles Roman Approval, pace-setting runner-up in the Stars and Stripes (G3) and fourth in the American St Leger (G3), and Da Big Hoss, a $50,000 claim at the Churchill Downs spring meet that overcame a soft pace to win the $100,000 John’s Call, a restricted stakes over 1 5/8 miles, at Saratoga last time.
Also exiting the American St Leger are Grade 2 veteran Hyper, who was third in that race as well as the Singspiel (G3) and Man o’ War earlier (G1) this season. Az Ridge, winner of minor stakes at Canterbury and Turf Paradise this term, was fifth in the St Leger after pressing the pace and leading briefly.
Dramedy, who upset the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland at odds of 30-1 in April, faded to fourth in the Arlington H. after running off to a long, early lead. Transferred to Steve Asmussen following that run, he disappointed in his first run for that stable when eighth in the Bowling Green H. (G2) August 1.
Other logical threats include California invaders Bailoutbobby and Power Ped.
The $300,000 Kentucky Downs Turf Dash at 6 1/2 furlongs marks the return of Channel Marker, last seen posting a 10-1 upset of the Jaipur S. (G3) on Belmont Stakes Day. Also returning from an extended break is Green Mask, third by a length in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1) on the Dubai World Cup undercard in March.
Other serious contenders include Holy Lute, one-length winner of the $87,000 Green Flash H. at Del Mar last time; Grade 2-placed stakes winner Mosler; and the multiple Grade 3-placed Mongol Bull.
Shrinking Violet figures to be a solid favorite in the $300,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, also at 6 1/2 furlongs. The Wesley Ward pupil, undefeated in two prior starts over the course, captured the Monrovia (G2) at Santa Anita in January and romped by nearly five lengths in the $92,000 Daisycutter H. at Del Mar last month.
Looking to post the minor upset is Sky Treasure, heroine of the Nassau (G2) at Woodbine two back. Grade 3 queen Thank You Marylou and multiple stakes winner Spring Included are other notables.
The stakes action Saturday kicks off with the $300,000 Dueling Grounds Derby for three-year-olds over 1 5/16 miles, where Secretariat (G2) runner-up Closing Bell is expected to be a heavy favorite over 10 others.
(Quiet Force photo: Four Footed Fotos)