2021 Kentucky Turf Cup Quick Picks
The $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs on Saturday drew an oversubscribed field of older horses for the 1 1/2-mile event. The winner receives a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on November 6.
The Turf Cup field includes two previous winners of the Turf Cup. The 7-year-old
Arklow captured the race in 2020 and 2018, and Zulu Alpha won in 2019.
The Kentucky Turf Cup is carded as race 9 of 11. Post time is scheduled for 4:44 p.m. CT.
Let’s review the most likely runners to hit the board.
#6 Bluegrass Parkway (20-1)
Bluegrass Parkway surprised the field in the Preview Turf Cup at odds of 13-1. It was the first stakes win for the Mike Maker trainee, and he earned a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure and has improving form. The downside is that Bluegrass Parkway has never strung back-to-back wins together. Still, at morning odds of 20-1, he’s a live longshot. Win contender.
#1 Imperador (15-1)
Imperator finished second in the United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park when stretching to 1 3/8 miles. Five horses from that race returned to finish in the money in their next start, including two winners. It was Paulo Lobo trainee’s strongest performance this year, and Imperator earned the Kentucky Turf Cup field’s highest late-pace Brisnet speed figure of 110. Live longshot.
#9 Glynn County (15-1)
The consistent Glynn County has finished in the money six of his last nine starts, including four victories since last September. In fact, he earned his first career victory at Kentucky Downs. The 4-year-old won the only time that he ran 1 1/4 miles. The drawback for this Mike Maker trainee is a 13-point speed figure jump from 88 to a career-best 101, and Glynn County may regress off of that effort. Live longshot.
#5 Arklow (3-1)
Arklow, the leading money winner in the field, loves this track, with two wins and a runner-up finish in three starts. He had an excuse in his second-to-last start; he clipped heels and stumbled in the United Nations (G1) finishing sixth. Lastly, he was a close seventh finishing just 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner in the Del Mar Handicap (G2). Exotics.
#4 Tide of the Sea (6-1)
Tide of the Sea is one of the few contenders who like to be on or near the pace. Although the Mike Maker trainee hasn’t won since January, he missed by less than two lengths, combined, in his last two starts. Tide of the Sea won his only start at Kentucky Downs and has won and placed three of four starts at today’s distance. Exotics.
#13 AE Big Dreaming (20-1)
Watch for Big Dreaming if he draws in. The 4-year-old has finished out of the money only once in his eight-race career. Although he’s taking a massive jump from the allowance ranks, the Wayne Catalano trainee finished second in the listed Gun Runner Dueling Grounds Derby at this track last September. Live longshot.
2021 Kentucky Turf Cup Analysis
Bluegrass Parkway is the only horse in the field who won their last start and he is an attractive play at 20-1.
Imperator is another one who could upset the field. He’s in good form and has a powerful stretch drive.
Glynn County is the most consistent horse in the field, and although he may regress, he’s worth an exotics look. He gets the services of the meet’s second-leading rider Tyler Gaffalione.
Arklow is a vulnerable 3-1 favorite. He’s getting up there in years, and his last two races were below par.
- #6 Bluegrass Parkway (20-1)
- #1 Imperador (15-1)
- #9 Glynn County (15-1)
- #5 Arklow (3-1)