Graham Motion’s barn has been lucky getting horses into races at Kentucky Downs this meet but unlucky getting them into the winner’s circle. Motion’s three seconds and two thirds out of 15 starts including a close second with Pivotal Mission in the $500,000 Look for the Star Juvenile and Blame Debbie being disqualified from first to third in a $95,000 allowance race Wednesday.
“This is the first time we’ve gotten everything in that we’ve entered,” said Alice Clapham, Motion’s assistant trainer who is a regular fixture at Kentucky Downs with the horses shipping in from their Fair Hill, Md., base. “We always enter a lot but don’t normally get them in. But this is like the first year they’ve all gotten in. That’s why we’ve had more horses running than normal.”
It’s not too late for Motion to have a big meet with his runners on Saturday’s showcase card and Sunday. Motion sends out the duo of He’s No Lemon and Standard Deviation in the $1 million Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup. That’s a 1 1/2-mile, Grade 3 stakes that Motion won in 2007 with General Jumbo, when the purse was $200,000.
“He’s No Lemon and Standard both should like the distance around here,” Clapham said. “I think they both should run well. He’s no Lemon has run well all year. He got the allowance win at Saratoga (over his Joe Sharp-trained half-brother Midnight Tea Time, who was second in Wednesday’s Tapit Stakes) but even those two or three stakes races this year, he’s run well and run hard.”
Motion also has Secret Message in Saturday’s $500,000, Grade 3 English Channel Ladies Turf at a mile and Kanthaka in the $700,000, Grade 3 RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint, along with Captain Hardship in a $95,000 allowance race. On Sunday, the barn will be represented by Mrs. Sippy in the $500,000 TVG Stakes (formerly the Ladies Marathon) and Bredenbury and Lucky Jingle in the $400,000 Music City Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters.
Kanthaka is one of the three 5-1 second choices in the RUNHAPPY Turf Sprint, with defending champion Totally Boss the 9-2 favorite. Kanthaka, in his first start for the year and first for Motion after being trained by California-based Jerry Hollendorfer, was second by a neck on June 20 in Belmont Park’s Grade 1 Jaipur won by the top mare Oleksandra.
“He ran huge off the long layoff; that’s why we’ve given him a little bit of time since then,” Clapham said. “They all seem to be in good form, so hopefully they’ll all run well here.”