09/21/2001 11:00PM

Chorwon back again for Cup Turf


The unusual setting provided by Kentucky Downs will be the focus of horseplayers Sunday when $700,000 in purses is offered during the fourth annual Kentucky Cup Turf Festival.

Kentucky Downs, the undulating, turf-only course located adjacent to the Tennessee border near the town of Franklin, Ky., has carved out an unusual niche for itself with this once-a-year bonanza. The series culminates with the $300,000 Kentucky Cup Turf, a

1 1/2-mile race in which Gritty Sandie, a New York shipper trained by Jimmy Toner, will carry high weight of 115 pounds, including jockey Jean-Luc Samyn.

The other races in the series are the $200,000 Mile, the $100,000 Ladies, and the $100,000 Turf Dash.

Among the notables in the Turf is Chorwon, who three years ago finished third as the odds-on favorite to Yaqthan in the inaugural running of this race. "I've had him in the barn ever since the fall of his 2-year-old year," trainer Hal Wiggins said of Chorwon, a gray 8-year-old. "He's been around so long, it's like he's part of the family. He's doing great right now, and I'm expecting a big effort from him."

Wiggins saddles Jake the Flake as one of the favorites in the Mile, and he could be in for a big afternoon. But perhaps not as big as Elliott Walden, who is scheduled to start six horses in the four Kentucky Cup races.

Walden has a major Turf contender in Three Wonders, who will be ridden by Pat Day, one of several top-shelf jockeys to ride here Sunday. Other contenders in a field of seven include Man From Wicklow, shipping in from New York for trainer Rick Violette, and Profit Option, whose trainer, Kenny Hoffman, won the first Kentucky Cup turf race when G H's Pleasure captured the 1998 Turf Dash. Other starters are The Knight Sky and Kim Loves Bucky.

The winners of the Turf the last two years - Fahris in 1999 and Down the Aisle in 2000 - have gone on to compete in the Breeders' Cup Turf, although they were well beaten as longshots.

The Kentucky Cup races will be incorporated into a 16-race card that also includes 10 races from Turfway Park. Two other Kentucky Downs races, both for maidens, also are carded Sunday. The first Kentucky Cup race, the Turf Dash, is scheduled for 3 p.m.

TVG is the only network providing live coverage of the series.

Kentucky Downs will host the seventh and last program of its 2001 meet Monday.