09/20/2007 12:00AM

Cougar Cat overdue for victory

EmailFor a horse with such big Beyer Speed Figures in his recent past performances, Cougar Cat has had a tough time winning races.

"You'd think with 110 and 104 on his paper, he'd have won something," said trainer Ronny Werner. "He usually runs real hard, so you'd think he'd have gotten a little more done."

Yet Cougar Cat has gone winless in his last five starts - albeit finishing respectably behind the likes of Fabulous Strike, Diabolical, and other top sprinters. On Saturday, Cougar Cat will be favored to break that minor drought when he switches to turf in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash, part of the Kentucky Cup turf series at Kentucky Downs in Franklin, Ky.

Werner noted that Cougar Cat, a 5-year-old horse by Storm Cat, began his career in Europe and was stakes-placed in a turf sprint. "So he's done okay on it," said Werner. "I'm not as concerned about the grass as much as him going up and down those hills there at Kentucky Downs. I think that's the question for a lot of them."

Cougar Cat, with Jamie Theriot to ride, is one of eight older horses in the six-furlong KC Turf Dash, which is carded as the ninth of 16 races on the melded Kentucky Downs-Turfway program. Other major contenders include Ecclesiastic, winner of the Grade 3 Jaipur at Belmont earlier this year for trainer Marty Wolfson, and Atticus Kristy, the defending champion in this race.

Ladies Turf: Will Quiet Royal get lucky?

Quiet Royal has chased a couple of tough fillies when finishing second in her last two starts to Mauralakana and Quite a Bride, but there are no such standouts lining up against her Saturday in the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Ladies Turf (race 11).

"Are we going to be able to get lucky one day with this filly?" asked Michael McCarthy, assistant to Todd Pletcher. "At least we don't have to run against Quite a Bride again."

Indeed, fans are likely to make Quiet Royal a solid favorite in the one-mile Ladies Turf off her runner-up finish behind the fleet Quite a Bride in the recent Ellis Park Breeders' Cup Turf. Overall, Quiet Royal has been first or second in 10 of 17 starts, and her $364,703 bankroll is tops in this race.

In all, 11 fillies and mares are entered in the KC Ladies Turf, with the other major contenders figuring to be Royal Pleasure, shipping in for trainer Jonathan Sheppard, and Rich Fantasy, a front-running threat for Werner.

* The $50,000 Franklin (race 7) also is part of the six-race live card at Kentucky Downs. Obi Wan Kenobi, Salinja, and Terrific Storm figure strongly in the one-mile race, formerly known as the Yaqthan.