09/08/2010 2:58PM

Free Fighter, Coolcullen Times add strength to Kentucky Cup lineup

Four-Footed Fotos
Free Fighter adds to the strength of the lineup for Saturday's Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs.

Free Fighter and Coolcullen Times look like the top challengers to Cloudy’s Knight in what shapes up as a solid field for the Grade 3, $150,000 Kentucky Cup Turf at Kentucky Downs.

Two other Kentucky Cup races, the $50,000 Ladies and $50,000 Dash, also are set for Saturday at Kentucky Downs, the turf-only track that will be opening a four-day meet in Franklin, Ky. A field of 10 older horses was entered Wednesday for the 1 1/2-mile KC Turf.

Cloudy’s Knight, trained by Jonathan Sheppard, won the KC Turf last year following a one-year layoff. Now 10, the gelding will be making his first start in more than eight months Saturday.

Free Fighter won the Louisville Handicap in May and most recently was third in the Stars and Stripes. Coolcullen Times was a close third in the John’s Call last month at Saratoga.

Six Kentucky Cup races are being assimilated into an all-in-one, 16-race Saturday card with Turfway Park, which will have the Grade 3, $100,000 Turfway Fall Championship as its live feature.

Several horses in the KC Turf, including Coolcullen Times and Sligovitz, also were expected to be cross-entered in the TP Championship. Saturday entries for Turfway were to be drawn Thursday.

Tizdejavu won’t make BC Mile

Tizdejavu will miss the Breeders’ Cup Mile on turf because of a minor injury to a splint bone, trainer Greg Fox said this week from his farm adjacent to the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington, Ky.

In his most recent start, Tizdejavu won the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap on July 4 at Churchill Downs, where the Breeders’ Cup is being held this year.

“It’s a pretty tough pill to swallow because we were planning on being competitive in the Mile with him,” said Fox. “He’s having minor surgery. We’ll take him down to Payson Park this winter and get him ready to roll next spring.”

Tizdejavu has won eight races, including five turf stakes, from 16 career starts, for earnings of nearly $700,000. The 5-year-old horse is owned by his breeders, Michael Cooper and Pam Ziebarth.

Noble’s Promise could race this fall at Churchill

Noble’s Promise, unraced since finishing fifth in the Group 1 St. James’s Palace Stakes on June 15 at Ascot, may resume training soon enough to make the Churchill fall meet, said trainer Ken McPeek.

“I didn’t like the way he came out of that work [July 15] at Saratoga, so he’s been back here at the farm taking it easy since then,” McPeek said from his Lexington farm. “His feet were bugging him. I’m going to go over him real close in the next couple of days and see if he’s ready to get back to it.”

Previous to the St. James's Palace, Noble’s Promise had the lead at the quarter pole of the Kentucky Derby before fading to fifth. The colt has earned nearly $900,000 from 10 career starts.

Sycamore next target for Brass Hat

Brass Hat has been sent to trainer Buff Bradley’s farm in Frankfort for a brief rest after finishing strongly in the Cliff Guilliams Memorial on Monday at Ellis Park. Brass Hat, 9, nudged past the $2.1 million earnings mark with a second-place finish to Turallure in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

“I was very pleased with his race,” said Bradley, adding that he likely will stretch out his stable star to 1 1/2 miles in the Oct. 21 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland.

* John McKee returned to action Saturday at Ellis after being sidelined for more than three months with a broken leg sustained in a May 24 spill at Indiana Downs. McKee said he plans to ride regularly this fall at Turfway, where he is a two-time leading rider. McKee, 29, has won 1,185 races for mount earnings of more than $30 million. He is being represented by agent Kerry “Bones” Wirth.

* The Friday night feature at Turfway is a second-level, $25,000 allowance at a mile on the Polytrack. Wealth to Me, with Greta Kuntzweiler riding for trainer Bill Ford, is a contender in a seven-horse field that also figures to have Parade Clown and Timbucto as logical favorites. The race goes as the 10th, with first post for a 12-race card set for 7 p.m. Eastern.

* The Keeneland Association announced this week that vice president Harvie Wilkinson will retire at the end of January 2011. Wilkinson has been an integral player for the track in legal and financial dealings for years. Wilkinson’s “contributions to the Association have been immeasurable,” Keeneland president Nick Nicholson said in a media release.