09/26/2007 11:00PM

Turfway card offers betting value

EmailLOUISVILLE, Ky. - Saturday's Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, showcasing Street Sense and Hard Spun, looks as competitive as a golf foursome of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, and a pair of club pros. Barring the unexpected, one of the big names is going to win at short odds.

But dig deeper through the card at Turfway on Saturday and it becomes apparent that there is potential for much more rewarding payoffs. Many of the supporting stakes at Turfway on Saturday feature large, competitive fields.

Beginning with the Kentucky Cup Juvenile Fillies, the first stakes on the card, I'll play Latest Scoop, a 6-1 outsider on the track morning line.

Third in her debut Aug. 3 at Arlington, she exhibited marked improvement second time out, winning a maiden race at Turfway on Sept. 8 by 3 1/2 lengths. Just as impressively, she ran quickly, posting an 84 Beyer Speed Figure, a very good figure for a 2-year-old filly racing two turns in September.

Although unproven in a stakes race, she is not at what I would consider to be an experience disadvantage. Unlike all but one of her opponents, she has raced two turns and she passed that test with style.

Beyond the speed figure she earned, she drew away late from her opponents, beating a quality field that included French Kiss, a filly that had previously run third in the Anna M. Fisher Juvenile at Ellis Park.

That she has taken to Polytrack is not a surprise. Her sire, two-time Breeders' Cup Classic winner Tiznow, is the fifth leading all-weather sire based on North American earnings on synthetic surfaces this year, according to BRIS statistics.

Juvenile: Chitoz offers value

Two races later in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile, I like another horse sired by a proven synthetic sire: Chitoz, who is by Forest Wildcat.

Forest Wildcat has sired more than his fair share of skilled synthetic-track performers this year, led by Salute the Sarge, the Grade 2 Best Pal winner and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity runner-up.

Chitoz might add to his sire's already promising statistics with all-weather runners. Sixth first time out on turf at Saratoga, he leaped forward in his second race, trouncing a maiden field in the slop by 10 1/4 lengths at Monmouth on Aug. 23.

Now his trainer, Todd Pletcher, confidently ships the colt from New Jersey to race in graded stakes company over Polytrack at Turfway, when he could have opted for an easier, closer-to-home spot.

Working in his favor is the fact that the Kentucky Cup Juvenile looks like a soft race. Of the 10 entries, only T.J.'s Posse is a stakes winner, and his stakes victory came against Virginia-breds at Colonial.

Chitoz offers value at 4-1 on the morning line.

Distaff: Pleasant Hill looks ready

The Kentucky Cup Distaff follows next and is the race preceding the Classic. Top to bottom, it is the best race on the card. Ten of the 12 fillies and mares in the body of the race are stakes winners, and at least several should be fat prices on the board.

My selection is 10-1 shot Pleasant Hill, a lightly raced, consistent filly that won the Grade 3 Gardenia in her most recent start. Although her victory did not earn her much of a Beyer - she received an 85 - she beat some legitimate opposition in High Heels and Brownie Points, and dominated from start to finish.

She has shown the ability to run faster when needed. In 2006, she won a maiden race at Saratoga by three lengths, earning a 99 Beyer.

Just as she did prior to her Gardenia victory, she has trained swiftly leading up to this race, capped by a 58.40-second, five-furlong move at Turfway Park on Sept. 22.

She seems poised for a strong effort, and at 10-1 odds the price is right.

Tis a Man the pick in allowance

Lastly, Tis a Man looms a potentially rewarding play in the fourth race, a first-level, six-furlong allowance.

A talented colt who was disqualified from first and placed third in the 2006 James C. Ellis Juvenile Stakes, he may be somewhat overlooked following a dull performance when sixth as the favorite when racing a mile at Turfway on Sept. 5.

He is a much better colt than what he displayed that day. And being a son of Tiznow, he has a pedigree to have synthetic success - despite his poor recent showing over the Polytrack.