Downs After Dark, Breeders' Cup Classic winner Fort Larned, Family Fun Day cap Churchill Downs September meet


Fort Larned has had a rocky year. In his first start of the year Mar. 9, he tossed jockey Brian Hernandez at the start of the Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2). He returned a month later in the Oaklawn Handicap (G2) to finish a disappointing fifth. When he came back to his home track in Churchill’s Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) on June 15, he romped to a 6 ¼ length victory in wire-to-wire fashion. Two months later in the Whitney Invitational Handicap (G1) at Saratoga, he failed to fire and was the beaten favorite by nearly three lengths. He should be comfortable with the return to his home track and the race should set him up nicely for a revisit to Santa Anita in the Breeders’ Cup.

Also on Saturday’s card is the $100,000 Jefferson Cup (G3) for three-year-olds going a mile on the turf. Owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who are arguably having the best year of their career, will send out Redwood Kitten, third in the Del Mar Derby (G2) in his last start, and Gentlemen’s Kitten, who’s coming in off an allowance win at Saratoga.

Saturday’s events begin at 4:00 p.m. with the first race at 6:00 p.m. The final race on the 11-race card is scheduled to run at 11:10 p.m. General admission is $10 and no one under the age of 18 will be admitted without a parent or responsible adult. Reserved seating prices start at $20. 

The September meet concludes Sunday with Family Fun Day presented by Kroger. From 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. special activities geared towards the kids will take over the Plaza Balcony. Honey Hill Farm, who welcomed families opening weekend, returns Sunday with their petting zoo and pony rides (until 3:30 p.m.). Families won't want to miss this photo-op to have their kids don racing silks and take a ride on a miniature horse! In addition to the miniature horse, the petting zoo will include rabbits, chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, alpacas, and a donkey. Cookies and Canvas will also return to bring out the artist in your child. The Sunday craft from the Junior Jockey Club will allow the kids to create their own binoculars. First post on the 10-race card is 12:45 p.m.

Photo: J. Oswald

About Jessie Oswald
I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as an immigration paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!
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