There may be no Grade 1s in the United States this weekend, but there are two Breeders’ Cup Challenge races set for Kentucky Downs. Winners of both races will be assured of their place in respective races at Del Mar, while there is also the final leg of the British Triple Crown taking place on Saturday. All leading horse racing sportsbooks will offer odds, but which picks should bettors make?
Calumet Turf Cup (Grade 2)
We will start with the first of our two races at Kentucky Downs this weekend, as the Grade 2 Calumet Turf Cup is run over 1 ½ miles. However, without being disrespectful to any of the horses here, it is unlikely that the winner will seriously trouble Mishriff, Tarnawa and Snowfall at the top of the Breeders’ Cup Turf markets.
There are a number of leading contenders in the betting for the race, with all the attention on Brad Cox’s Arklow, who will be looking for a history-making third win in this race. His record at this course and this race deserves respect, as he won in both 2020 and 2018. However, recent seventh and sixth places in the Del Mar Handicap and United Nations could indicate that he is going backwards.
Zulu Alpha remains respected, despite his form this season really disappointing, finishing seventh in the Mr D Stakes and fifth in the Arlington. Channel Cat brings the class to this field after winning the G1 Man O’ War earlier in the season. However, we would be willing to take a chance on Glynn County, who stayed on well to finished third in the Mr. D Stakes, and is two from five in 2021.
Pick: Glynn County
FanDuel Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint (Grade 3)
A place in the wide-open Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint will be on offer for the winner in the Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint. This contest is a Grade 3 and is run over six furlongs. Another big field are set to go to post, and it could be a wide-open contest.
Casa Creed could be an interesting selection here, after winning two from five. He has claimed success in the G1 Jaipur and Elusive Stakes this season, and was third in the FourStarDave. Got Stormy will be back in with the boys after beating Casa Creed in the FourStarDave last time out. Her form at Kentucky Downs is also proven, winning the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint 2 months ago.
Fast Boat could be an interesting outside selection, having beaten Chewing Gum, Front Run The Fed and Gear Jockey in The Troy. He is three from five this season, and also has back form at the track, having won a starter allowance at Kentucky Downs in 2019. Got Stormy would be the selection for this, but Fast Boat should be considered.
Pick: Got Stormy
St Leger Stakes (Group 1)
We will close our look at this weekend’s racing with an examination of the final British Classic of the season, and the third leg of the English Triple Crown. The St Leger is run over a mile and six furlongs, and Charlie Appleby and Godolphin will be looking for yet another big race winner.
Hurricane Lane is their chance in the St Leger this weekend, who has been beaten on just one occasion. That defeat came when third in the Epsom Derby, but he bounced back to win the G1 Irish Derby and G1 Grand Prix de Paris. It’s hard to look elsewhere such is his class.
Questions can be posed of many of the other contenders, with High Definition having been beaten by Hurricane Lane already this season. Interpretation has a chance, having recorded three straight wins, including the Vinnie Roe Stakes last time. Ottoman Emperor is also not without a chance, having won a graded race for the first time on his last appearance in the G3 John Pearce Racing Gordon Stakes. But, it’s hard to oppose the favorite.
Pick: Hurricane Lane