09/09/2017 8:28PM

Oscar Nominated turns in winning performance in Kentucky Turf Cup

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Reed Palmer Photography/Kentucky Downs
Oscar Nominated (#4) rallied from mid-pack in the 1 1/2-mile race to win a three-horse scramble over Postulation and Muqtaser.

FRANKLIN, Ky. – All the calculations were made beforehand by Ken Ramsey and his crew. Then Oscar Nominated and jockey Julien Leparoux came through with the right moves Saturday in winning the 25th running of the Grade 3, $594,000 Kentucky Turf Cup, the annual showcase race on a record-setting day at Kentucky Downs.

Ramsey decided to scratch Oscar Nominated earlier in the week from the Old Friends Stakes in favor of the Turf Cup, which culminated a 10-race card that drew a track-record $8,487,323 in all-sources handle. The decision paid off handsomely when Oscar Nominated rallied from mid-pack in the 1 1/2-mile race to win a three-horse scramble over Postulation and Muqtaser.

Oscar Nominated, a 4-year-old ridgling by Kitten’s Joy, paid $9.40 as second choice in a field of 12 after finishing in 2:31.37 over a firm course. After settling into a rhythmic stride for Leparoux, he found a clear path for the lengthy stretch run, and his momentum carried him past Postulation and Muqtaser, both of whom also found running room when it counted before coming up just short.

Postulation, the 5-2 favorite, had a half-length on Muqtaser, with longshot St. Louie finishing another 1 1/2 lengths back in fourth after racing on or near the pace.

The win was the first for Oscar Nominated since he romped here last September in the Dueling Grounds Derby. He had been close in most of his eight interim starts.

“He needed to step it up, and he did,” said Mike Maker, who trains Oscar Nominated for Ramsey and Ramsey’s wife, Sarah. “He’s never had a bad day in his life. Unfortunately it’s taken this long this year to get his first victory. We’ll get through this and there are plenty of options.”

Ramsey was attending a family function but said he intends to be here Thursday for the fifth and last day of the rich Kentucky Downs meet as the title sponsor of one of the co-features, the Ramsey Farm Stakes. The Ramseys are easily the leading owner in track history, just as Maker is the leading trainer.

Ramsey normally is closely affiliated with Kitten’s Joy, his former turf champion and flagship stallion, but Oscar Nominated was bred and raced by John and Jerry Amerman before Ramsey and Maker claimed him for $75,000 in the fall of his 2-year-old year. With the $345,960 winner’s share, Oscar Nominated now has earned $1,168,155 from 21 career starts.

For Maker, the Turf Cup victory was his third straight, following back-to-back triumphs the last two years by Da Big Hoss.

The $2 exacta (4-1) paid $46.80, the $1 trifecta (4-1-3) returned $115.60, and the 10-cent superfecta (4-1-3-10) was worth $181.05. An all-stakes pick four (5-5-10-4) ending with the Turf Cup (races 7-10) returned $162.90 for a 50-cent wager.

The total handle crushed the track’s previous record of nearly $5.8 million wagered on this same date last year. Kentucky Downs first conducted racing here in 1990 when known as the Dueling Grounds.