FRANKLIN, Ky. — If Thursday’s $400,000 FanDuel Tapit Stakes is an indication, Kentucky Downs is in for a tremendous meet. The Tapit, at a mile and 70 yards, is restricted to horses that haven’t won a stakes in 2022. But that doesn’t mean the horses aren’t accomplished.
The 15 horses entered Saturday for the Tapit include the winners of last year’s Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile (In Love, who won a division of the Tapit in the prior race); Grade 2 Santa Anita Mathis Mile winner (Law Professor); $750,000 Big Ass Fans Dueling Grounds Derby (Accredit, making his first start in a year); and Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks (Like the King).
The Brazilian-bred In Love, who drew post 12, is trained by Paulo Lobo for owner Bonne Chance Farm, which also teamed to win last year’s $1 million Calumet Turf Cup (G2) at Kentucky Downs with Imperador. In Love finished a respectable seventh, beaten a total of 3 1/2 lengths, in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Mile at Del Mar. He was eighth in his two starts this year, both Grade 1 races.
Also in the Tapit: Megacity finished first in the Texas Turf Classic in his last start but was disqualified to second behind his stablemate Field Pass; Peace Achieved, trying to regain his form that saw him win the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Mile and Keeneland’s Grade 3 Bourbon in 2019; 2020 Tapit winner Ramsey Solution, who romped in his only start this year; Woodbine allowance winner Souper Dormy, in his first stakes since finishing a very close third at 47-1 in Kentucky Downs’ 2019 Franklin-Simpson; and multiple graded stakes-placed and 11-time winner Shadow Sphinx, making his first start for California trainer Kristin Mulhall after being claimed for $50,000. The 7-year-old Shadow Sphinx would be in his first stakes in his 29th start and after earning $341,152.
Twelve horses can start in the Tapit, with Spanish Kingdom, Bakers Bay and Newsworthy on the also-eligible list and requiring defections by 9 a.m. CT on race day to run.
The Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund accounts for $200,000 of the purse, for which only registered Kentucky-breds are eligible.
Eight of the 10 races are Thursday’s card drew at least 12 horses.
Stakes nominations and past performances all on line
Nominations are out for Kentucky Downs’ 17 stakes and the new $180,000 Tight Spot Overnight Handicap. The $1 million Kentucky Turf Cup (G2) attracted 60 nominations, including seven from track all-time win leader Mike Maker, who has won the 1 1/2-mile stakes a record four times.
Kentucky Downs Press Release
Photo: In Love and jockey Alex Achard winning a division of last year’s Tapit Stakes at Kentucky Downs. Coady Photography