05/29/2014 12:39PM

Tightend Touchdown seeks Governor's Cup repeat

Tom Keyser
Tightend Touchdown will try to repeat last year's performance when he won the $150,000 Governor's Cup.

Tightend Touchdown, the runner-up in last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, returns to the course where he ran the fastest race of his life when he looks to defend his title in the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup for turf sprinters at Penn National.

The five-furlong Governor’s Cup goes as race 2 at 6:33 p.m. Eastern as the second of five stakes on a Saturday program headed by the $500,000 Penn Mile.

Tightend Touchdown, claimed for $35,000 in January 2013, soared to a 107 Beyer Speed Figure in romping by 5 1/2 lengths in last year’s Governor’s Cup. He went on to just miss in the Grade 3 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx Racing and outran his 18-1 odds to finish a half-length behind Mizdirection in the BC Turf Sprint.

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In his only start this season, Tightend Touchdown did not display his customary early speed after getting bumped coming out of the gate and finished eighth as the even-money favorite in a minor stakes at Gulfstream Park in February. A virtus prevented Tightend Touchdown from going overseas to run on the Dubai World Cup card in March.

We were going to Dubai, and were all set to go, and three day before we go he came up with a high temperature – 105 – and got a virus,” trainer Jason Servis said. “He got knocked for a loop.

“He’s much better now. Last year, he was just lights out. I thought this would be a good starting point.”

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Tightend Touchdown's 11 rivals include Stormofthecentury, the 28-1 upset winner of last summer’s Turf Monster, and Great Attack, a Grade 3 winner two years ago.

Like Tightend Touchdown, the 6-year-old Stormofthecentury was bothered at the break in his lone start this year, a seventh-place finish in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs four weeks ago. In addition to winning the Turf Monster, Stormofthecentury was competitive in the Grade 3 Woodford at Keeneland, flashing high speed before fading late in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint.

Great Attack returns to his preferred surface after setting the pace and finishing second in the off-the-turf Turf Sprint at Pimlico two weeks ago. Two springs ago, Great Attack came from far back to get up by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 3 Turf Sprint at Churchill.

Marriedtothemusic, a 4-year-old based in New York with Linda Rice, is cross-entered in the Governor’s Cup and the five-furlong Penn Dash on dirt. He also is listed as a candidate for the Grade 3, $300,000 Jaipur at Belmont Park on June 7.

Oaks contenders switch surfaces

A pair of fillies who won graded stakes on Polytrack will try to transfer their form to turf in the $100,000 Penn Oaks, the first race on the card at 6 p.m.

Ready to Act, who overcame a rough start and an inability to maintain a straight course in the stretch to win the Grade 2 Beaumont at Keeneland last time out, will face Aurelia’s Belle, the winner of the Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park, in the one-mile Penn Oaks.

The return to turf should suit Ready to Act, who already owns a $100,000 stakes win on grass at Gulfstream Park. She is listed as the 7-5 favorite on the track’s morning line.

Aurelia’s Belle will be making her turf debut. She easily defeated 10 rivals going a mile in the Bourbonette Oaks in March, then regressed when put back on dirt for the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

The eight-horse field also includes California shipper Famous Alice, who won her first try beyond 6 1/2 furlongs in a one-mile, first-level optional $80,000 claimer at Santa Anita last month.

◗ Evolution Rocks, who posted three consecutive triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures during the winter in Florida, and Uncle Todd, the winner of last month’s Charles Town Dash, are logical contenders among 11 older horses going five furlongs on the main track in the $50,000 Penn Dash (race 6).