Saturday, September 22, 2001

Guided Tour headlines Cup

By George Rorrer
Enquirer contributor

        The eighth Kentucky Cup Day of Champions today at Turfway Park is part of a newly organized series of prep races leading up to the World Thoroughbred Championships, formerly known as the Breeders' Cup, Oct.27 at Belmont Park. Today's Kentucky Cup Classic will be televised live at 5:15 p.m. by ESPN2.

        Last year, Turfway's fall showcase sent horses who finished first (Spain), second (Point Given) and third (Captain Steve) in Breeders' Cup races.

        Are there similar potential champions in today's five stakes races? Steve Cauthen, the Triple Crown-winning former jockey, didn't rule it out. “Nobody knew Point Given last year until he arrived on the scene here,” Cauthen said. “It's always tough to pick the juvenile races, but some good ones have come out of here.”

        Track announcer Mike Battaglia made Niall O'Callaghan-trained Guided Tour a 7-5 favorite to win the Classic. He'll be challenged in a field of six by 9-5 Balto Star, Arkansas Derby and runaway winner of Turfway's Spiral Stakes last spring; 3-1 Performing Magic and 8-1 Fajardo. Da Devil, surprise winner of the 1999 Classic, is at 20-1.

        “Guided Tour is one of the top handicap horses in the country,” Battaglia said. “Balto Star was so impressive winning the Spiral. I think he'll be good at a mile and an eighth (the race's length). We know a mile and a quarter is too long for him.”

        Guided Tour, the winner of $1,050,220 this year, took the Stephen Foster Handicap in June at Churchill Downs and captured the Washington Park Handicap at Arlington Park on July 21.

        Balto Star will be ridden by Pat Day.In his most recent start, he won over Saratoga's turf course.

        Fajardo is on a three-race winning streak, including the Governor's Handicap at Ellis Park.

        In the $200,000 Turfway Breeders' Cup, 5-2 favorite Spain will try to repeat from the outside post in a field of seven.

        In the Sprint, City Zip was made a 6-5 favorite and will start from the No. 6 stall. Hunter Cruise is a 7-5 favorite to win the $100,000 uvenile, and Playing 'n Gold is a 9-5 pick to take the $100,000 Juvenile Fillies.


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