February 5, 2023

Arrest Me Red, Campanelle give Ward big chances in Kentucky Downs sprints

Arrest Me Red with Irad Ortiz riding wins the Twin Spires Turf Sprint at Churchill Downs (Photo by Horsephotos.com)

Turf Sprint (G2) — Race 9 (5:10 p.m. ET)

If Arrest Me Red can run as well in Saturday’s $1 million Turf Sprint (G2) at Kentucky Downs as he did four months ago in winning the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (G2) at Churchill Downs, he’ll deservedly stamp his ticket to the Nov. 5 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Keeneland.

The dash over Kentucky Downs’ unique layout looks tailor-made for Arrest Me Red, who is a three-time stakes winner over the six-furlong distance. Although a close second in the Jaipur (G1) last out to subsequent Fourstardave H. (G1) winner Casa Creed, Arrest Me Red prevailed by a comfortable margin in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint two back, defeating returning rivals Bran and Gregorian Chant.

The full field also includes Totally Boss, the 2019 Turf Sprint winner who has raced only seven times in the interim. However, the veteran won an allowance at Churchill in late May after nearly a year away from the races, and finished a close fourth in a stakes prep for this at Ellis Park last month.

Seventh in this event last year at a huge price, Front Run the Fed brings decent form into the race and only missed by a neck to Gear Jockey in the 2020 renewal, albeit over soft ground. Others notables in the lineup include Joe Hernandez (G2) winner Chewing Gum and Highlander (G2) runner-up Arzak.

Ladies Sprint (G3) — Race 11 (6:20 p.m. ET)

World traveler Campanelle looks the filly to beat in the $1 million Ladies Sprint (G3) over 6 1/2 furlongs. Also trained by Ward, the dual Group 1 winner captured the Giant’s Causeway S. at Keeneland in April before missing by less than a length in the Platinum Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot in June.

Creative Credit enters off back-to-back stakes wins at Horseshoe Indianapolis and Ellis, the latter over Monrovia (G2) heroine Brooke Marie. Grade 2 winner Jouster, Giant’s Causeway and Intercontinental (G3) runner-up Star Devine, and She Can’t Sing, a three-time stakes winner this year, also have claims.

In Good Spirits won this event by two lengths a year ago, though she’s finished unplaced in all four outings since. Another looking for turnaround is Elle Z, whose form has slipped of late after being a dominant figure last winter at Fair Grounds.

Franklin-Simpson S. (G2) — Race 12 (6:55 p.m. ET)

The finale on the 12-race card is the $600,000 Franklin-Simpson S. (G2) for three-year-olds over 6 1/2 furlongs. The expected heavy favorite is Big Invasion, who’ll be seeking his sixth consecutive stakes win for trainer Christophe Clement. Big Invasion recently swept the two turf sprints for sophomores at Saratoga, the Quick Call (G3) and Mahony S.

Among those taking a shot against him are Stitched, who enters on a three-race win streak, including two stakes, all over a mile, and Sumter, a dual stakes winner at Santa Anita earlier this year.