09/10/2012 1:40PM

Kentucky Downs: Cohen, McPeek in solid alliance


David Cohen made something of an abrupt move this fall, leaving what had been his home circuit for the better part of the last three years – the New York racing circuit – almost as soon as he posted one of his biggest career victories in the Travers Stakes.

Cohen, 27, has hitched his proverbial wagon to Ken McPeek, trainer of Golden Ticket, the colt Cohen rode to a dead heat with Alpha in the Aug. 25 Travers at Saratoga. The men will team up repeatedly throughout the fall in Kentucky, including during the Kentucky Downs meet that began last weekend.

Cohen will be aboard three of the four horses that McPeek will run Wednesday at the turf-only track in south-central Kentucky, including Putthebabiesdown in race 7, the only allowance on an eight-race card. The one-mile race carries a $62,000 purse, half of it restricted to horses nominated to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund.

“David has done a really good job for me since he started working for me in the spring,” McPeek said. “His ride in the Travers was absolutely fantastic. He comes across as a very intelligent rider and has no fear. I’m glad he’s come down south to give Kentucky a try through the Keeneland and Churchill Downs meets.”

Putthebabiesdown is one of the logical contenders in the Wednesday feature, which drew an oversubscribed field of fillies and mares. McPeek conceded being “a little disappointed” with Putthebabiesdown after she showed big promise at 2, but was narrowly defeated in several stakes, including the Grade 1 Alcibiades.

“She had some issues coming out of her 2-year-old season,” McPeek said Monday from the Keeneland sale. “She hasn’t moved to the next level as we’d hoped, but we’d like to get her through an allowance condition or two if we can. The long-term plan is to run her through the fall and retire her as a broodmare prospect.”

Other major players in the Wednesday feature include Correspondent, Drama Drama, Teller Terri, and How Pleasant. Sixteen are entered, but only as many as 12 will start.

Big fields continue to be an allure to racing at Kentucky Downs. A total of 112 horses, including 18 also-eligibles, are on the Wednesday program.

After Wednesday, one more Saturday-Monday-Wednesday run will close out the six-day Kentucky Downs meet. The meet highlight, the Grade 3, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, is one of four stakes to be run this coming Saturday. First post daily is 1:35 p.m. Central.

◗ The nine-race Saturday opener at Kentucky Downs drew an all-sources handle of $1,363,682, up 75 percent over the comparable date from 2011 when eight races were run, track officials reported. Times were incredibly slow because of the heaviness of the turf course left soggy by rain, although they were expected to quicken when the Monday card was run amid drier conditions.

◗ Entries at Turfway Park have gotten a little better, at least in comparison with what happened during the first week. Entries were so light that only six races were run Sunday at the northern Kentucky track, with a mere total of 38 horses contesting them. Nine races will be run Thursday and 11 Friday. The 16-day meet runs through Sept. 30.