Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, 10 miles south of Cincinnati, will host the WinStar Kentucky Cup Day of Champions on Saturday. The day will include five WinStar Kentucky Cup races, scheduled as races six through ten. The races, all named after WinStar stallions, include the Tiznow Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, the Bluegrass Cat Kentucky Cup Juvenile, the Grade 3 Speightstown Kentucky Cup Sprint, the Grade 3 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff, and the featured race, the Grade 2 WinStar Kentucky Cup.
Originally created in 1994, the Kentucky Cup series was intended to be a lead-in for the Breeders’ Cup. Over the last 17 years, the series has produced seven Breeders' Cup winners, six Eclipse Award champions, and three Canadian champions. The last Breeders’ Cup winner coming out of the Kentucky Cup was Furthest Land in 2009, who won the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Due to budget cuts, the series was cancelled in 2010. WinStar’s sponsorship has returned the five-race series for 2011.
Hall of Fame jockey Pat Day and New Jersey Nets head coach Avery Johnson will be among those presenting the Kentucky Cup series trophies. Day will also be available for photos with fans from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the track apron. Fans can also have their pictures taken with WinStar’s trophies from Super Saver’s 2010 Kentucky Derby, Drosselmeyer’s 2010 Belmont Stakes, and Well Armed’s 2009 Dubai World Cup.
Among the entries in the WinStar Kentucky Cup is a horse spotlighted on Louisville.com during Derby week—Strike Impact. Strike Impact is a horse owned by Courier-Journal turf writer Jennie Rees and her husband Pat Dupuy. Dupuy is also the trainer and Strike Impact happens to be the only horse in Dupuy’s barn. Strike Impact lost his last race, the West Virginia Speakers Cup Handicap at Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort, by a neck. Jockey Calvin Borel will again be in the irons.
Another horse to watch is General Quarters, trained by former Louisville school principal Tom McCarthy. General Quarters won the 2009 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes prior to finishing 10th in the Kentucky Derby. He came back to Churchill Downs on Derby Day 2010 to win the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. He has continued to compete in graded stakes, but has not been the first across the wire since that race. Jaime Theriot will ride.
The first post at Turfway Park on Saturday is 1:10 p.m. Admission to the track is free. The first race in the WinStar Kentucky Cup series is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. and the series culminates with the WinStar Kentucky Cup at 6:05 p.m. TVG will present live coverage of all the day’s races.
Photo: Courtesy WinStar Kentucky Cup