BWI Turf Cup (G3) Tops Four Turf Stakes Worth $500,000 in Purses; Juvenile Filly Hicktown Graduates, Air Token Captures Friday Feature
BALTIMORE, Md. – Nominations close Saturday for four grass stakes worth $500,000 in purses to be held July 24 at historic Pimlico Race Course headlined by the $200,000 Baltimore-Washington International Turf Cup (G3).
The BWI Turf Cup for 3-year-olds and up going one mile will mark its 15th running and first since Caribou Club’s track record-setting performance in 2019 after being a casualty of Maryland’s pandemic-shortened racing calendar last year.
Run as the Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs from its 2005 debut through 2013, the race was not held in 2014 but returned in 2015 as the Commonwealth Cup at Laurel Park. Renamed the BWI Turf Cup in 2017, it will be contested for the first time at Pimlico.
Hall of Fame trainers Shug McGaughey and Todd Pletcher have each won the BWI Turf Cup twice. McGaughey finished first with Doctor Mounty (2018) and Mr Speaker (2015), while Pletcher won with Turbo Compressor (2012) and champion English Channel (2005).
Joining the BWI Turf Cup on the July 24 program are the $100,000 Bald Eagle at 1 ½ miles for 3-year-olds and the $100,000 Sensible Lady Turf Dash sprinting five furlongs and $100,000 Big Dreyfus at 1 1/8 miles, both for fillies and mares 3 and up.
The Sensible Lady, Bald Eagle and Big Dreyfus are each relatively new to the stakes schedule, having respectively debuted in 2017, 2018 and 2019. All three return following a one-year absence.
Juvenile Filly Hicktown graduates, Air Token takes Friday Feature
Both making their first career starts, Super C Racing’s Hicktown came with a three-wide move to catch front-running favorite Determined Truth approaching the wire and get up by a neck in Friday’s third-race maiden special weight for 2-year-old fillies.
The winning time for five furlongs over a fast main track was 58.78 seconds.
A daughter of Verrazano out of the Seeking the Gold mare My Friend C.Z. cost a mere $6,000 at Keeneland’s September yearling sale last fall. Ridden by Jorge Ruiz for trainer Dale Capuano, she had been training steadily at Pimlico for her unveiling.
D Hatman Thoroughbreds’ Determined Truth, who fetched $100,000 at the same sale, stalked early pacesetter Hannahs Red Ruby before taking over around the turn but was unable to hold off the winner. It was 6 ¾ lengths back to Senson, bred by Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who nosed out Hannahs Red Ruby for third.
In Friday’s featured seventh race, Air Token, owned and trained by Jose Corrales and ridden by J.D. Acosta, scooted through an opening along the rail at the top of the stretch and outran favored Ziggy Mon to win the second-level optional claiming allowance for 3-year-olds and up by a half-length in 1:10.12 for six furlongs.
Winner of the Concern last November at Laurel Park, Air Token ($18) was coming off a runner-up finish behind Valued Notion in an off-the-turf Ben’s Cat June 13 at Pimlico. It was the sixth career win for the 4-year-old Golden Lad gelding and second in his last three starts.
Maryland Jockey Club Press Release
Photo: Air Token takes Friday Feature (MJC)