09/15/2011 1:06PM

Kentucky Downs: Bergerac logical off Saratoga win


Being good enough to win a second-level turf allowance at Saratoga should translate into being good enough to win a $50,000 stakes at Kentucky Downs.

Shouldn’t it?

“You’d think so,” said Jimmy Baker, who Saturday will be hoping to see Bergerac make that very transition.

Bergerac, in off a Sept. 1 triumph at Saratoga, could wind up a lukewarm favorite as one of 10 3-year-olds and upward in the $50,000 Franklin-Simpson Mile, the sixth of seven races at turf-only Kentucky Downs. The race seems pretty well matched, with Nowhere to Hide, Yankee Injunuity, Karama, Paris Vegas, and Cozy Kitten all likely to take solid action, too.

Baker, whose 2011 has been marked by a couple of notable streaks – he began the Churchill Downs spring meet going 4 for 5 and ended Saratoga with a 3 for 6 run – said he accidently stumbled upon Bergerac becoming an effective turf miler.

“I sprinted him forever,” said Baker, who is based primarily at Churchill Downs in Louisville. “I was going to sprint him at Saratoga, but his race didn’t go, so I tried him at a mile, and he ran pretty big. So I decided to run him back again and see what happened, and he ran even better. So for now we’ll just try to keep him at a mile, if possible.”

Bergerac, a 4-year-old gelding by Rahy, will have Jimmy Lopez aboard and will break from post 3.

Nowhere to Hide enters in good form, having won 3 of his last 4 starts, most recently an Aug. 12 score over the Ellis Park turf. A 5-year-old gelding, he was moved this spring into the Churchill barn of David Carroll after having been trained by Nick Zito, who sent him out to a 17th-place finish in the 2009 Kentucky Derby.

Among the other handful of viable challengers, Yankee Injunuity might be a useful sleeper. Based in Chicago with Jimmy McMullen, the 7-year-old horse has run well over the Kentucky Downs course before, having finished second by a head in the 2009 Kentucky Cup Turf Dash.

Greta Kuntzweiler, who won the meet showcase, the Kentucky Cup Turf, last Saturday aboard Rahystrada, has the call on Yankee Injunuity.

The Franklin-Simpson, named for the city and county in which Kentucky Downs is located, anchors a card that begins at 12:40 p.m. Central. Ten races directly follow at sister track Turfway Park, where first post is 5:30 p.m. Eastern.