KENTUCKY CUP TURF STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | GRADE 3 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | 1 1/2 MILES
FRANKLIN, Ky. -- Rahystrada strutted his class while giving Greta Kuntzweiler her second straight victory in the Kentucky Downs showcase event, the Kentucky Cup Turf, as a four-day meet opened Saturday with the 14th running of the Grade 3, $150,000 race.
Always in striking position, Rahystrada took over for front-running Harrods Creek as the field of 10 turned for home in the 1 1/2-mile race and surged clear to win by 3 3/4 lengths over Odds On. Miami Deco was another head behind, with Rules of Honor fourth by another half-length.
Rahystrada, owned by Robert Courtney and based at the Thoroughbred Training Center with trainer Scooter Hughes, returned $3.60 as the heavy favorite after finishing in 2:32.40 over firm turf.
"We're just thrilled," Hughes said. "I said before the race I thought he could get this distance and get over the ground well enough. He went out there and did it."
The race was marred by a spill near the five-furlong pole when Formaggio, tracking the leaders near the rail, suddenly fell, throwing Shaun Bridgmohan, who was on his feet within seconds. Formaggio then ran off through the vast infield before finally being caught nearly 10 minutes after the incident.
Kuntzweiler matched her richest win since she returned in June 2010 from a 4 1/2-year hiatus from the saddle. She won this race last year aboard Rezif, who returned to finish a non-threatening seventh this year.
Rahystrada, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred gelding by Rahy, earned $89,280 with his 12th victory from 34 career starts and now has banked $941,904. He was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Aug. 13 Arlington Million.
Hughes has been noncommittal about a further agenda for his stable star, but said he hopes to surpass the $1 million mark and have him race for at least one more year.
Odds On, a 13-1 shot, completed a $2 exacta (6-4) worth $32.80, while Miami Deco (19-1) ended a $1 trifecta (6-4-9) that paid $185.30.
KC Ladies: Guidry guides Snow Top Mountain to win
One race earlier, Snow Top Mountain ($6.60) charged past the entire field, with Seniga being the last one, to capture the $50,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies and give jockey Mark Guidry his first stakes victory since he returned to riding a month ago.
Barbara Hunter bred and owns Snow Top Mountain, a gray 4-year-old filly who is a half-sister to Keertana. She prevailed by three-quarters of a length when finishing the one-mile distance in 1:39.83. It was her first stakes triumph from 16 overall starts.
"This is a pretty nice little filly in her own right," winning trainer Tom Proctor said by phone, adding that he might try Snow Top Mountain next in the Grade 1 First Lady next month at Keeneland.
Riviera Chic finished third, while A She's Adorable, the 9-5 choice in a field of seven fillies and mares, was fourth.
Guidry, a winner of more than 5,000 races, launched his comeback after retiring in November 2007.
* The Turfway Park version of the Kentucky Cup will be renewed Sept. 24 after the series went dormant for 2010. The five-race, $600,000 series will be run over Polytrack at the Florence, Ky., track during the lone daytime Saturday card of a 16-day meet that runs through Oct. 2.