Turf Cup, All Along on tap at ColonialA trio of Triple Crown veterans will have a showdown with more established turf performers in Saturday's $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup S. (G3) at Colonial Downs, the first leg of the $5,000,000 Jacobs Investments Grand Slam of Grass. Any three-year-old who sweeps the series, which also includes the July 19 Virginia Derby (G2) at Colonial; the August 9 Secretariat S. (G1) at Arlington Park; and the October 25 Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) at Santa Anita, would be eligible for a bonus of more than $2 million.
COURT VISION (Gulch) and ADRIANO (A.P. Indy), 13th and 19th, respectively, in the Kentucky Derby (G1), along with Preakness S. (G1) sixth-placer KENTUCKY BEAR (Mr. Greeley), have found their way into the Turf Cup. Of those three, only Lane's End S. (G2) winner Adriano has previously raced over grass, winning a maiden and a first-level allowance over the surface. Court Vision scored his biggest win last year taking the Remsen S. (G2) at Aqueduct, while Kentucky Bear is winless in three starts since his maiden score at Gulfstream in January.
Those three will most likely take a backseat in the wagering to more established turf runners in the 1 3/16 miles contest. SPORTING ART (Doneraile Court), winner earlier this year of the Palm Beach S. (G3) and Calder Derby (G3), enters off a fifth-place effort in the Arlington Classic S. where he lacked running room late. Calder Derby third EL SULTRY SUN (Eltish) recently rebounded to take the Lamplighter S. at Monmouth Park by a nose over the highly rated Prussian (Danzig), while BOSS LAFITTE (Dynaformer) has shown versatility this year winning the Transylvania S. (G3) on Polytrack and the U.S.A. S. over turf at Lone Star Park last out.
Other legitimate threats in the Turf Cup are SAILOR'S CAP (Distant View) and NISTLE'S CRUNCH (Van Nistelrooy), second and third, respectively, in the Crown Royal American Turf S. (G3) over yielding ground at Churchill Downs on May 2. The field is rounded out by Grade 3-placed YOUR ROUND (Distorted Humor) and allowance winner BALTIMORE BOB (Malibu Moon).
The Colonial Turf Cup field in post order, with jockey and weight, is: El Sultry Sun, Eibar Coa, 118; Court Vision, Garrett Gomez, 116; Your Round, James Lopez, 116; Sporting Art, Javier Castellano, 122; Baltimore Bob, Horacio Karamanos, 116; Nistle's Crunch, Robby Albarado, 116; Kentucky Bear, Elvis Trujillo, 116; Boss Lafitte, Julien Leparoux, 120; Sailor's Cap, Alan Garcia, 116; and Adriano, Edgar Prado; 120.
On the undercard, a solid group of fillies and mares will square off in the $200,000 All Along S. (G3) at 1 1/8 miles on turf. Grade 1 winner RUTHERIENNE (Pulpit), who captured a deep renewal of the Jenny Wiley S. (G2) at Keeneland two back, is the likely favorite but enters off a sub-par third in the Gamely S. (G1) at Hollywood Park on May 26.
A familiar rival in the All Along will be Grade 2 winner VALBENNY (Ire) (Val Royal [Fr]), who was second to Rutherienne in the Del Mar Oaks (G1) last summer, but finished ahead of that rival in the Garden City S. (G1), though neither filly ran to their best that day as Valbenny finished sixth and Rutherienne trailed home in 10th. Valbenny most recently finished five lengths third in the Gallorette H. (G3) at Pimlico in her first start of the season.
Others of note in the All Along are the veteran New York-bred J'RAY (Distant View), a multiple Grade 3 winner who was a fading sixth in the Sheepshead Bay H. (G2) last out; Arlington Matron H. (G3) winner INDESCRIBABLE (Pleasant Tap), victorious in one of two previous starts on turf; and Dahlia S. winner LADY DIGBY (Grand Slam), a half-length second in the Gallorette last out.
The All Along field in post order, with jockey and weight, is: PALMILLA (Crowd Pleaser), Rosemary Homeister Jr., 118; Lady Digby, Jeremy Rose, 120; Indescribable, Gomez, 122; ECLISSE (Fr) (Ski Chief), Trujillo, 120; DANCING BAND (Dixieland Band), Jermaine Bridgmohan, 120; J'ray, Coa, 120; ROYAL PLEASURE (Royal Academy), Homeister, 118; HIGH MOMENT (High Yield), Julian Pimentel, 120; Valbenny, Prado, 120; and Rutherienne, Gomez, 122.
Palmilla and Royal Pleasure form the Augustin Stable-owned and Jonathan Sheppard-trained entry.
Also on Saturday's program is the $60,000 Buckland S. for fillies and mares at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Multiple stakes winner SMART AND FANCY (Not for Love) figures to be a strong favorite as she was at a disadvantage in The Very One S. at Pimlico in her seasonal debut last out. That race was scheduled for the turf, but was switched to a muddy, sealed main track, where the Tony Dutrow pupil struggled home in third, 6 1/4 lengths behind the winner.
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