December 3, 2022

Next Shares looks to regain winning ways at Kentucky Downs opener

Next Shares and jockey Tyler Gaffalione upset the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland on October 6, 2018 (c) Keeneland/Coady Photography

The widely anticipated 2019 meeting at Kentucky Downs kicks off Saturday with four additional days of racing scheduled through September 12. The all-turf track, situated near the Kentucky-Tennessee border north of Nashville, hosts three unrestricted stakes (four in total) on Saturday, headed by the $750,000 Tourist Mile for older horses.

Looking to bounce back to better form is Next Shares, who defeated Siem Riep and Parlor over this course in the $250,000 Old Friends last fall and later went on to upset the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland over Great Wide Open and also the San Gabriel (G2) at Santa Anita. However, the Richard Baltas-trained veteran has run below par in four of his last five, and has not raced at all since a 10th-place effort in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) on Kentucky Derby Day.

Hembree improved off an allowance win at the 2018 Kentucky Downs meet to take the Nearctic (G2) at Woodbine in his next start. However, the Mike Maker charge has had to settle for minor checks throughout the spring and summer.

Also entered in this seemingly wide-open race are Grade 3 veteran Real Story, a dominating three-length stakes winner on the Indiana Derby undercard; multiple stakes winner Mr Cub, who took the prep stakes for this at Ellis Park by a neck over Siem Riep last time; and West Coast invader Majestic Eagle, who won the American (G3) two back.

The $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile and $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies, both over one mile, could have some bearing on their corresponding Breeders’ Cup races this fall.

Saratoga graduates Our Country and Are You Kitten Me both figure to take play in the Juvenile. The Juvenile Fillies is similarly contentious, with recent maiden breakers Fly So Pretty, Jezebel’s Kitten, and Sunset Promise seemingly among the leading contenders.

2 Comments on Next Shares looks to regain winning ways at Kentucky Downs opener

  1. Do you guys know what happened to the horse Effinex? I thought he was a horse and would be standing stud somewhere? Thanks, Scott

    • Scott:

      Effinex sadly died in October 2017 due to a ruptured artery. His only crop of foals are yearlings this year.

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