09/20/2002 11:00PM

Rochester upsets Turf


FRANKLIN, Ky. - A seasoned older horse from the East Coast was supposed to win the $300,000 Kentucky Cup Turf on Saturday at Kentucky Downs. But instead of Cetewayo, the millionaire 8-year-old who was favored at 9-5 in a field of 11, it was the 6-year-old Rochester who came bounding home a 2 1/2-length winner for Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard.

With Eddie Martin Jr. riding, Rochester, a Pennsylvania-bred owned by the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr., rallied from midpack to post his richest career victory in fifth running of the Grade 3 KC Turf, the centerpiece event in the Kentucky Cup grass series at Kentucky Downs.

Rochester paid $24.60 after finishing 1 1/2 miles in 2:38.39 over a course rated good.

Nowrass, a 7-1 shot, finished second, another 4 1/2 lengths ahead of Continental Red. Cetewayo, the 118-pound highweight, was another two lengths back in fourth.

Before an ontrack crowd estimated at nearly 2,000, Riddlesdown led for most of the way in the fifth running of the KC Turf, while Grammarian, a Grade 2 winner two starts back, followed closest. Into the long stretch, Continental Red appeared to move to a short lead from the rail, but then Rochester put in the best run of all, lengthening out to his eighth victory from 20 career starts.

In recent months, Martin has been riding regularly at Delaware, where Sheppard frequently runs his horses. "I've been trying to beat this horse back there," said Martin. "I finally got together with him, thank goodness."

The 3-6 exacta paid $218.60 and the 3-6-2 trifecta paid $1,897.80.

Through six races, Kentucky Downs had surpassed its record all-sources handle for a live racing card.