09/11/2010 1:42PM

Freshened El Crespo one to beat at Kentucky Downs


FRANKLIN, Ky. – A second-level allowance at all-turf Kentucky Downs isn’t supposed to be nearly as tough as a second-level turf allowance at Saratoga. Right?

“You wouldn’t think so,” said trainer Rusty Arnold. “That’s why we’re headed that way, to find out.”

Arnold will be sending out El Crespo as a solid favorite in the Monday feature at Kentucky Downs, a $29,000 allowance that anchors a nine-race program. Arnold long has believed that El Crespo is capable of good things, but for one reason or another, that hasn’t quite come to fruition, with the 4-year-old A.P. Indy colt having won just 2 of 18 career starts. In his latest outing July 31, El Crespo ran seventh in his only start of the Saratoga meet.

“I thought he was doing very well coming into it, but I didn’t quite get the race I was looking for,” Arnold said early Saturday from Keeneland, where he oversees one string while his top assistant, Jack Bohannan, oversees his other string at Churchill Downs. “So I sent him right home for a little break.”

A field of eight is entered in the one-mile feature. Eddie Martin Jr., in from the recently ended meet at Canterbury Park, will have the mount on El Crespo, who breaks from post 2 as clearly the horse to beat.

Arnold said he thought El Crespo “needed a confidence booster” and he therefore went out of his way to get him a race at Kentucky Downs.

“If we can’t get it there, we’re headed in the wrong direction,” said Arnold. “If I get the answer I’m looking for, he’ll move on to Keeneland and Churchill.”

Two other allowances (races 6 and 8) also are on tap Monday, when first post is 1:30 p.m. Central.

◗ Kentucky Downs president Corey Johnsen will be among the hosts of a fundraising reception for the Kentucky House Democratic Caucus in the clubhouse Monday. The event starts at 5 p.m. A number of legislative leaders who favor alternative gaming at Kentucky tracks will be in attendance.