09/08/2016 11:20AM

More Than Ready Mile tops three supporting stakes

Coady Photography
Watchyourownbobber wins the Warrior Veterans Stakes at Indiana Grand in July. He is a top contender Saturday in the More Than Ready Mile.

More than $2.3 million in purse money is up for grabs on a 10-race Saturday program at Kentucky Downs – and no, this is not a misprint.

With sizable bonuses from the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund for every race, the card is topped by the $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup while also including three other stakes and a half-dozen six-figure allowance or maiden events.

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It all adds up to another memorable day at this turf-only track in south-central Kentucky, where racing sprang to life in 1990 at what was originally known as the Dueling Grounds. Fueled in large part by revenue from the slots-like machines known as “historical racing,” purses have climbed to unforeseen heights.

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Here is a rundown of the three supporting races that make up an all-stakes pick four (races 7-10) with the Turf Cup:

◗ $400,000 More Than Ready Mile (race 7, post 4:36 p.m. Central): A field of eight is entered, but trainer Wesley Ward said both Hootenanny and Chiltern Street will be scratched, leaving no more than six starters.

“I wanted to have the option of seeing how my horses are doing, and if you don’t enter, you don’t have that option,” said Ward.

Their defections leave Watchyourownbobber as the horse to beat in a lineup that also has Thatcher Street, Songsational, and Dimension as major contenders.

Watchyourownbobber, like so many of the top horses in the Mike Maker stable, was acquired via the claim box. The 4-year-old Hard Spun colt has won three ungraded stakes and was the runner-up in the Barbados Gold Cup after being taken by Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Thatcher Street, trained by Ian Wilkes, has proven extremely consistent while ascending the class ladder over the last 14 months, with a peak effort coming in his victory May 21 in the Opening Verse at Churchill Downs.

Songsational and jockey Florent Geroux might get loose out front, as the 5-year-old horse exits shorter races in New York for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

Dimension is 1 for 1 over the Kentucky Downs surface, having won the Turf Dash in 2014, and was a two-back winner of the Grade 2 King Edward over the Woodbine turf.

◗ $150,000 One Dreamer (race 8, 5:09): No Fault of Mine ships in from Chicago as a top contender for trainer Chris Block and faces nine other fillies and mares in a race going a mile and 70 yards that is restricted to horses who have not won a stakes in 2016.

Entrechat, with Flavien Prat riding for trainer Neil Drysdale, is among the other likely favorites, along with Annulment, Inside Out, and America Mon Amie.

Block has enjoyed remarkable success in recent years at Kentucky Downs, winning stakes with five different horses since 2009.

◗ $350,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (race 10, 6:09): One of the deepest races of the day has been saved for last, as this highly competitive 6 1/2-furlong race pits Mississippi Delta as a slight morning-line favorite against a handful of legitimate challengers in a field of 10.

Mississippi Delta, trained by Mark Casse, has been competitive in New York and Canada in midrange turf races against classy company. The 4-year-old Giant’s Causeway filly shows two breezes at Churchill in preparation for this.

Miss Double d’Oro, bred and owned by Brad Kelley of Calumet Farm, returns to Kentucky Downs as a primary threat after finishing fourth here last year in the Dueling Grounds Oaks. The 4-year-old filly has been facing some of the top filly-and-mare turf sprinters on the Southern California circuit this year.

Rumble Doll, in from New York for trainer Robert Falcone Jr., closed stoutly at Saratoga in her last start and would be dangerous here with a similar effort.

Late Spring is back home in Kentucky with Vicki Oliver after taking a summer trip to Del Mar and reunites with Corey Lanerie, who guided her to an allowance triumph at Keeneland in the spring.