Updated on 09/16/2011 9:16AM

Vindication: Something special


FLORENCE, Ky. - Vindication's victory in Saturday's Kentucky Cup Juvenile at Turfway Park was so impressive that he most likely will head to the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Juvenile as one of the favorites. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 87 with his third victory in as many starts.

From the first jump, the Kentucky Cup Juvenile was a funny race.

"Not funny ha-ha," said Pat Byrne, trainer of Private Gold. "Funny peculiar."

Crowned King stumbled badly at the break of Saturday's race at Turfway Park, throwing jockey Chandra Rennie. Mike Smith, aboard Vindication, had to dodge the fallen rider, costing his mount six to eight lengths.

Meanwhile, Crowned King loped ahead to join Private Gold on the early lead. They raced as a team to the far turn, with Pat Day, riding Private Gold, peeking to his outside to see if the loose horse was preparing to do something unpredictable.

Byrne said he thought the loose horse may have played havoc with Private Gold's efforts, but Day said, "We were second-best today."

Winning trainer Bob Baffert said that Vindication may actually benefit from having overcome his early trouble in the race.

"I told people that this colt needed some adversity after winning his first two races so easily at Del Mar," Baffert said. "Well, we got it. We had worked him behind horses at Del Mar, and I think that paid off here."

Trainer Billy McKeever Jr. was merely relieved that Crowned King, a 47-1 shot, returned unhurt.

"That's the first time that's ever happened to me," said McKeever, a Louisiana-based trainer who paid $5,000 to make Crowned King the lone supplementary entry of the Kentucky Cup series.

Possible rematch in Breeders' Cup

The first two finishers in the Classic may be headed for the Oct. 26 Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park. Trainer Shug McGaughey said the Breeders' Cup Classic "sure is a possibility" for Pure Prize, who won the Kentucky Cup Classic by three-quarters of a length over Dollar Bill.

Dallas Stewart said he was thoroughly pleased with the way Dollar Bill rallied from far back. "As far as I'm concerned, it's on to the Breeders' Cup," he said.

Trip the first Cup repeater

By successfully defending her championship in the Turfway Breeders' Cup, Trip became the first two-time winner in the nine-year history of the Kentucky Cup.

McGaughey said Sunday that Trip "has really gotten good right now.

"The Breeders' Cup Distaff wasn't in our thinking going into the race, but after what she did, it's not out of the realm of possibility. She's a bit peculiar about what track she runs on, but she won at Arlington Park earlier in her career."

Options for Day Trader

Day Trader, who led every step of the KC Sprint, may run next in the Oct. 5 Phoenix BC Stakes at Keeneland or just train up to the BC Sprint, said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. Lukas also has a major BC Sprint contender in Orientate.

After teaming up last year with Snow Ridge, the victory was the second in a row in the KC Sprint for Lukas, owner Overbrook Farm, and jockey Pat Day. Day

Price difference

Don't expect Ruby's Reception to go looking anytime soon for a rematch with Atlantic Ocean, who beat her by a convincing 2 1/2 lengths in the KC Juvenile Fillies.

Atlantic Ocean was bought for $1.9 million earlier this year by The Thoroughbred Corp. Ruby's Reception cost $12,000.

"We're not disappointed," said Larry Jones, trainer of Ruby's Reception. "The other filly is supposed to win some of these. To finish behind her with our $12,000 filly is pretty good."

* Although final figures still were not anounced Monday, all-sources handle for the 14-race Kentucky Cup card was going to "settle in at around $6.2 million," said Turfway's chief financial officer, Cliff Reed. That surpasses the nearly $5.4 million that was handled last year but falls well short of the record. Two years ago, over $8 million was handled on the day, and the series record was set at nearly $9.6 million in 1997.