09/15/2012 6:22PM

Kentucky Downs: Speed carries Ioya Bigtime to Kentucky Turf Cup victory


FRANKLIN, Ky. – Ioya Bigtime took full advantage of being the lone speed in a small field when he notched his richest career victory Saturday in the 15th running of the Grade 3, $200,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, the annual showcase event at turf-only Kentucky Downs.

Nursed along the 1 1/2-mile journey by Jeffrey Sanchez, Ioya Bigtime held off Rahystrada, the defending champion and 7-5 favorite, to win by a half-length.  The winner returned $6.40 after finishing in 2:30.06 over a firm course.

Kindergarden Kid was just another head back in a compact field of five older turf horses. Tahoe Lake and Lake Drop completed the order.

“My horse, he was training good,” said Sanchez. When Rahystrada moved to challenge at the top of the stretch after giving closest chase, “I said, ‘Let’s go,’ ” he added. “He was ready.”

David Block, whose family bred and owns Ioya Bigtime in Illinois, was in from Chicago for the race. His son, Chris Block, trains the 5-year-old Dynaformer horse at Arlington Park.

“That man there is too humble,” said Block, referring to Sanchez. “He has really turned the horse around with the way he rides him.”

Ioya Bigtime now has run three terrific races in a row. He won the Grade 3 Stars and Stripes at 41-1 at Arlington on July 14 before shipping to Kentucky Downs off a good runner-up finish in the inaugural American St. Leger on the Aug. 18 Arlington Million undercard. He earned $124,000 Saturday to lift his bankroll to $447,225.

A claim of foul by David Cohen against Rahystrada for interference in the final yards was disallowed by the stewards.

Several thousand fans were on hand during the peak of the 10-race Saturday card, although many had left by the time the Turf Cup was run under a fading sun hidden by a light cloud cover.


Racing at the six-day Kentucky Downs meet concludes this week with Monday and Wednesday cards.