Race of the Week- September 12th, 2020: Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes

Just one week after the Kentucky Derby, we get the Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes. It will be Race 10 on Saturday, September 12th at Kentucky Downs. Post time is set for 5:04 PM CT. This Grade III Race is one and one half miles on the turf and has a purse of $1,000,000. The race is for three-year olds and upwards. Last year’s winner was Zulu Alpha. He returns to the field this year along with the 2018 winner: Arklow. There will be 12 horses in this year’s field. Let’s take a look at my rankings.

In my algorithm, there are several factors I take into consideration including the horse’s past performances, workouts, winnings as well as the jockey’s performances and winnings. Horse’s rank values are calculated based off of the other horses in the field. Let’s check out the rankings for the 12 horses entered in this year’s Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes.

Last year’s winner, Zulu Alpha, is atop the rankings and is the 7/5 morning line favorite. He finished 4th in last year’s Breeder’s Cup Turf, the second choice here, Arklow also raced in that and finished 8th. He’s won 3-out-of-4 starts in 2020 and looks to be the one to beat here.

Arklow is the second favorite at 9/2. He finished fourth in his last at the United Nations and hasn’t won in his last five tries. That being said, he finished second in this race last year to Zulu Alpha and was the winner here in 2018.

There’s some long shots to look at here that can definitely hit the board. One I like is Grand Journey; he closed to win as a 3-2 favorite in an Allowance Optional Claiming Race two starts ago back on June 12th at Gulfstream. In his last race he stumbled out of the Gate and could’ve recover, finishing fourth. Irad Ortiz Jr. takes the mount here too which I love.

Although Standard Deviation ranks well, he’s finished 6th and 7th in his last two starts, his last being a 7th place finish in the United Nations (Arklow finished fourth in that one). He had some really good speed figures at the end of last year, but due to his more recent one, I won’t be using him.

My final longshot I’ll discuss here is He’s No Lemon (10-1). After a 3rd place finish in the Louisville Stakes (Gr. 3) three starts ago and an 8th place two ago in the TVG Elkhorn Stakes (Gr. 2), he won a allowance optional claiming race on August 16th at Saratoga in his last. I’ll still probably stay away from him as he really steps up again here, but he is an option to consider at 10-1 for sure.

I have run the 2020 Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes 1,000 times in simulations. Below are the results of those races.

Quick Wrap Up and Betting Strategies

Most Likely to Win: 10 Zulu Alpha (7/5)

My Bet: 10-3 Exacta Box

Longer Shots I Like: 3 Grand Journey (15-1), 11 Standard Deviation (12-1), 7 He’s No Lemon (10-1)

Superfecta: 10-3-5-11

I’m going to go with Zulu Alpha and Grand Journey in an exacta box. I think Zulu Alpha is the clear best horse here, but I don’t think pairing him with Arklow will get any value. Grand Journey stands out as a longer shot that has a real shot and I like that Irad Ortiz Jr. is on him. I think the best strategy is to take Zulu Alpha and try to beat Arklow coming in second. I’m not huge on Postulation at 8-1 (only one start in 2020) so I think there is value in some of my longer shots listed above.

Zulu Alpha wins the 2019 Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes
Grand Journey (3 horse) wins at Gulfstream two starts ago
Arklow wins 2018 Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes

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