09/16/2013 1:08PM

Kentucky Downs: Derby second Golden Soul tries turf against full field

Barbara D. Livingston
Kentucky Derby runner-up Golden Soul returns to first-level allowance spot Wednesday at Kentucky Downs, trying turf for the first time.

Dallas Stewart has heard the criticism in regard to his handling of Golden Soul. “They” say he should have settled for getting the colt through an allowance condition or two before overstepping his bounds in Grade 1 races such as the Haskell and Travers. Golden Soul was not a factor in either.

Still, Stewart laughs when recalling what some of these same people might have been saying after Golden Soul finished second at 34-1 behind Orb in the May 4 Kentucky Derby.

“I was hearing how smart I was after the Derby,” he said.

With or without urging from folks outside the arena, Stewart finally has entered Golden Soul in a first-level allowance. The spot, however, is not particularly easy, as it will present something new to the colt amid an oversubscribed field in the highlight of a Wednesday afternoon of racing at Kentucky Downs.

Golden Soul, with regular rider Robby Albarado aboard, will be making his grass debut as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a 1 1/2-mile race at the turf-only track in south central Kentucky. The purse is $94,000 for horses eligible to the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund, a group that includes Golden Soul.

“It’s probably a good thing to drop back when you’ve been getting beat up like we have,” said Stewart, who trains Golden Soul for owner-breeder Charles Fipke. “The purse is huge, and he worked well over the turf here [at Churchill Downs] earlier in the spring. It sure won’t hurt to try.”

The Golden Soul allowance is the 11th of 13 races on a card that includes three makeup races from the previous Wednesday, when a violent storm ended racing after four of 10 scheduled events. The other three lost races will be made up next Wednesday, Sept. 25, on another 13-race card that serves as the finale of a five-day meet.

For daylight to accommodate all those races, first post for each of the last two days has been moved up to 12:35 p.m. Central, one hour earlier than what had been used the first three programs.

Besides the 11th, four other allowances are on tap on a Wednesday card featuring rich purses and huge, extremely competitive fields:

◗ Race 5: Shadow Rock stretches out off a pair of solid efforts at Saratoga when facing the likes of Cougar Ridge and Jump for Kitten.

◗ Race 9: Monastic and Klisz are among the runners whose race last Wednesday was canceled because of the storm.

◗ Race 10: A couple of well-bred 3-year-old fillies, Neat Package and Liberated, are drawn to the outside as top contenders in this seven-furlong race.

◗ Race 12: Moonwalk is a lukewarm morning-line choice when seeking her first victory since she captured the Grade 3 Jessamine last fall at Keeneland at 36-1.

Also Wednesday, Kentucky Downs is hosting a handicapping contest offering this option as first prize: a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge or $5,000 cash. Entry fee is $100. More information is available on the track website, kentuckydowns.com.