09/28/2009 12:00AM

Classic team in top gear

Email
Emily Lang/Turfway Park
Furthest Land, a $35,000 claim last year, wins Saturday's $195,000 Kentucky Cup Classic, likely landing himself a Breeders' Cup start.

FLORENCE, Ky. - They are equal-opportunity dominators, this formidable team at Turfway Park. Trainer Mike Maker and his main clients, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, have run roughshod over the competition since Turfway began its fall meet Sept. 9, and their display of power hit its peak Saturday when they won the Grade 2, $195,000 Kentucky Cup Classic with Furthest Land, a horse Ken Ramsey claimed for $35,000 nearly a year ago.

"We're kind of riding high, wide, and handsome right now," Ken Ramsey said Monday.

Maker, the former longtime D. Wayne Lukas assistant who went out on his own in 2003, has won with a ridiculous 11 of 20 starters so far at Turfway, which through Oct. 8 will run a 22-day meet, much of it for lower-echelon horses. But no race is bigger at this meet than the KC Classic, which probably landed Furthest Land in one of the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita.

Furthest Land "probably will run in the Dirt Mile," which actually will be run over the synthetic Pro-Ride surface, Ramsey said. "But we're thinking of pre-entering in the Classic, too, just in case it doesn't come up all that tough."

Furthest Land, a 4-year-old gelding by Smart Strike, was fourth as the odds-on favorite in his last start, the July 25 Claiming Crown Jewel over the Canterbury Park dirt. But Maker believed the horse did not care for the track that day and that the Polytrack surface at Turfway would move him up.

Furthest Land completed a sweep of all three Kentucky Cup events for Garrett Gomez, the two-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey who took advantage in the lull between the Del Mar and Oak Tree meets on his home Southern California circuit to ride here for the day.

Earlier, Gomez won the Distaff on Indescribable and the Sprint aboard El Brujo. No jockey had ever swept the Kentucky Cup, but until this year, the series had consisted of five races, with the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies having been scrapped.

In the KC Classic, Furthest Land was up in the final strides to defeat Dubious Miss, the 5-year-old gelding who had never been defeated in the five previous times he had been ridden by Calvin Borel. Dubious Miss raced just off the pace from a perfect outside tracking spot, with Furthest Land following him all the way around.

"I thought I was home free turning for home," Borel told the Turfway publicity team. "He just got outrun."

Maker said having Gomez meant a lot to him. "Garrett just has a gift," said Maker. "I think it made a big difference as far as winning or losing.'

Next-out plans shaping up

Dubious Miss likely will run next in the Oct. 31 Fayette Stakes on closing day of the Keeneland fall meet, said trainer Paul McGee, unless an allowance race with favorable conditions becomes available.

Meanwhile, Hold Me Back, never a threat as the 4-5 favorite in the KC Classic for jockey Julien Leparoux and trainer Bill Mott, is through for the year, according to Elliott Walden, racing manager for the colt's owners, WinStar Farm.

"He came out of the race with a severe lung infection, and we need to clean it up," said Walden. "He will definitely be pointed to a 4-year-old campaign."

As for the two other Kentucky Cup winners, Indescribable, who has earned well more than half of her $474,492 bankroll by racing on synthetics, will be seriously considered for the Oct. 11 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes at Keeneland, said Mott, while El Brujo could make another trip from Woodbine to run in the Oct. 17 Perryville at Keeneland, said trainer Malcolm Pierce.

Tough day for business

Besides not offering the Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies this year, Turfway was further waylaid by the weather-related cancellation of six Kentucky Downs simulcasts that were supposed to be interspersed throughout a combined 16-race card.

Business on what ended up being a 10-race Saturday card had to take a huge nosedive, but Turfway officials said Monday they would not release those figures because comparisons to previous years are invalid.

Ontrack admission at Turfway is free, so no attendance figures for Saturday were released, but the track appeared hard-pressed to hit the 5,000 mark.