09/10/2016 7:33PM

Da Big Hoss repeats as favorite in Kentucky Turf Cup

Reed Palmer Photography
Florent Geroux collects his 23rd graded sakes victory of the season aboard Da Big Hoss in the Kentucky Turf Cup.

FRANKLIN, Ky. – Da Big Hoss repeated as winner of the Grade 3, $594,180 Kentucky Turf Cup after rallying from last as a heavy favorite, leaving his connections to ponder whether to take one of the best claims of all time to Australia for his next start.

“We’ve got some very lucrative offers to run him down there,” said Harvey Diamond, who with Jim Shircliff manages the Skychai Racing partnership that claimed the 5-year-old Da Big Hoss last year. “We could also run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, so it’s obviously a conflict anyone would like to have. We’ll make up our minds soon, I’d imagine. It’s all pretty unbelievable, really.”

Da Big Hoss now has earned more than $1.4 million since Skychai won a three-way “shake” for him at Churchill Downs in June 2015. His repeat in the 1 1/2-mile Kentucky Turf Cup came by 1 1/4 lengths over a stubborn Bullards Alley, with Rum Tum Tugger another 2 1/2 lengths back in third in a field of nine older horses.

Deftly ridden by Florent Geroux, who earned his 23rd graded stakes win of the year, Da Big Hoss cut both corners on the irregularly shaped turf course before moving along to capture the premier race of the five-day meet at Kentucky Downs. Da Big Hoss won last year by two lengths and now has seven stakes wins from 11 starts for Skychai and trainer Mike Maker.

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“He’s a very easy horse to train,” said Maker. “He just does his job and shows up every time.”

Da Big Hoss returned $3 after finishing the 1 1/2-mile distance in 2:35.08 over a course rendered yielding by an earlier thunderstorm. The 5-year-old by Lemon Drop Kid banked another $353,160 to bring his overall bankroll to $1,551,696.

The $2 exacta (7-2) paid $24.60, the $1 trifecta (7-2-1) returned $177.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (7-2-1-9) was worth $79.13.