Betting With, and Against, Therapist in the Kentucky Turf Cup

September 6th, 2023

An overflow field of 16 turf stayers will run 1 1/2 miles on the Kentucky Downs green in the $1.7 million Kentucky Turf Cup S. (G2) on Saturday. United Nations S. (G1) winner #11 Therapist (7-2) is the morning-line choice for conditioner Mike Maker, who has a trio of dangerous contenders in the cast.

Therapist – With

$1 trifecta 11 with 2,7,8 with all ($30)

$.50-cent trifecta 11 with all with 2,7,8 ($15)

Therapist – Against

$5 exacta box 2,7,8 ($30)

$1 trifecta 2,7,8 with 2,7,8,11 with 2,7,8,11 ($18)

By Freud, the eight-year-old has turned out to be one of the better claims in recent memory after being nabbed for $50,000 in January. The chestnut has excelled since joining this outfit and picked up his initial Grade 1 tally at Monmouth Park in his latest performance, his second graded victory over his last four tries.

Therapist has displayed excellent improvement with the combination of running marathon distances, as well as the addition of blinkers, and he will be tough to hold off on Saturday with a repeat of his latest outing. The Empire State-bred gelding will have Javier Castellano in the silks once again.

A case can be made for numerous players in the big field, led by defending champ #2 Red Knight (4-1). Also trained by Maker, the nine-year-old continues to thrive despite his age, and the chestnut showed a lot of late energy when checking in third in the United Nations (G1) most recently.  The son of Pure Prize is a stout late runner who thrives both on the course and at the distance, and he has put in some of his best efforts while coming in fresh as well. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the stirrups.

#8 Never Explain (8-1) finished a solid fourth in the Arlington Million (G1) last time out and will get more ground to work with in here while making his 12-furlong debut. Trained by Shug McGaughey, the five-year-old son of Street Sense has been consistently good in 2023 and gives me the impression of a horse who will appreciate the distance on this unique course. He’s worth including at a fair price under Joel Rosario.

I love that Irad Ortiz will be aboard #7 Kitodan (12-1), who romped in the 2022 Dueling Grounds Derby (G3) in his most recent local performance. The Point of Entry colt has not been sharp in either of his two runs to commence 2023, but I’m expecting a peak effort third time back for conditioner Eric Foster. The Kentucky-bred will be rallying from well off of the early tempo.