09/28/2007 11:00PM

Hard Spun turns tables on Street Sense

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Hard Spun leads Street Sense home in the Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway. The two colts are expected to meet again in the Breeders' Cup.
FLORENCE, Ky. - Taking full advantage of a set of highly favorable circumstances, Hard Spun turned back his Kentucky Derby conqueror, Street Sense, after setting a moderate pace in winning the 14th running of the Grade 2 Kentucky Cup Classic on Saturday at Turfway Park.

With Mario Pino doling out his speed, Hard Spun maintained about a length lead before turning back Street Sense to win the 1 1/8-mile KC Classic by 1 1/4 lengths. Street Sense, ridden as always by Calvin Borel, remained within striking distance throughout but could never get ahead. Stream Cat was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third, and Cat Shaker rounded out a field that was reduced to just four starters when longshot Muqbil was an early scratch.

Street Sense had finished in front of Hard Spun in their previous two meetings, beating him handily in the Derby and ending up second to Hard Spun's third in the Preakness. On Saturday, Street Sense was made the 4-5 favorite over Hard Spun, who was a close second choice at 90 cents on the dollar and returned $3.80 to win.

Trainer Larry Jones had said before the Classic that several factors favored Hard Spun in this rematch with his nemesis, including the small field, likely slow pace, Polytrack surface, and the fact that Street Sense was using the race as a final prep toward the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park. Both colts are likely to wheel back in the Classic.

"It was just as advertised," said Rick Porter, whose Fox Hill Farms owns Hard Spun.

Hard Spun went in fractions of 24.45 seconds, 48.18, 1:11.46, and 1:35.72 before finishing in 1:48.48, narrowly missing the track and stakes mark set last year in the KC Classic by Ball Four.

"When Street Sense came to me at the quarter pole, I knew my horse had a lot of fight left," said Pino. Hard Spun, he added, "is a great horse. They're both great horses."

Hard Spun, a Pennsylvania-bred by Danzig, had won his only previous Polytrack start, the Lane's End Stakes at Turfway in March. Street Sense is now 0 for 3 on Polytrack, although two of his greatest victories, the BC Juvenile and Derby, both came after losses on Polytrack.

The total purse for the KC Classic was $402,500, with Hard Spun earning $130,000 from the base purse and another $150,000 in a special bonus offering for any starter that had won a Grade 1 race in 2006 or 2007.