09/11/2008 11:00PM

KC Turf offers step to larger stage


It's a long way from Kentucky Downs to Santa Anita, but at least a couple of horsemen are hoping to make that leap in the wake of the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf on Saturday.

Silverfoot and Stream of Gold are among the 10 older horses entered in the $200,000 KC Turf, and their respective trainers, Dallas Stewart and Mike Maker, said a big effort Saturday would lead them to seriously consider the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Turf at Santa Anita.

The KC Turf is the centerpiece of opening day at Kentucky Downs, where the annual six-day meet runs through Sept. 23. A grass-only track located near the south-central Kentucky town of Franklin, barely north of the Tennessee border, Kentucky Downs is unique to American racing with its asymmetrical and undulating 1 5/16-mile oval and its country fair atmosphere.

The KC Turf is one of three Kentucky Cup races scheduled for Saturday, along with the $100,000 KC Ladies Turf and $100,000 KC Turf Dash. In addition, two steeplechase races, including the $50,000 Belle Meade Plantation Stakes, are among the seven races set for opening day.

The KC Turf, run at 1 1/2 miles, was a race that Silverfoot won in 2005 before he finished sixth in the BC Turf at Belmont Park. An 8-year-old homebred gelding owned by the Chrysalis Stables of Stephanie Clark, Silverfoot will be racing for the ninth time this year. He comes off solid efforts on the Arlington Park turf, having finished a decent fourth in the Aug. 9 Arlington Million after winning the Stars and Stripes Handicap.

"He couldn't be doing any better," Stewart said. "He loves being 8 years old. I thought he was a little unlucky in the Million, but he finished well and came out of it good."

Robby Albarado, second among North American jockeys this year with nearly $13 million in mount earnings, has the call on Silverfoot.

As for Stream of Gold, race-caller Tom Durkin gave the gelding a huge call on the day Ken and Sarah Ramsey claimed the 7-year-old for $60,000 at Saratoga.

"Stream of Gold is closing like a wild horse!" said Durkin, as Stream of Gold went last-to-first in winning the sixth race on Aug. 27.

Stream of Gold will make his first start under new colors as the likely second choice to Silverfoot in the Turf.

"Mr. Ramsey has talked about a lot of things with this horse," said Maker, alluding to a possible run in the BC Turf. "We're all very excited about him."

Kentucky Downs is owned primarily by a partnership headed by longtime racetrack executive Corey Johnsen and investment banker Ray Reid. The partnership bought an 85opercent interest in the track last year, while the former owners - Churchill Downs, Turfway Park, and businessman Brad Kelly - each retained a 5 percent interest.

This will be the 12th year for the Kentucky Cup turf series, which is modeled closely on what Turfway Park began in 1994. Turfway's 15th Kentucky Cup will be held Sept. 27.

The two Saturdays at Kentucky Downs will be melded with races from Turfway to form all-in-one programs for simulcast purposes, while stand-alone cards will be run Mondays and Tuesdays.

All four Saturday stakes from Kentucky Downs will be shown live on TVG.