Zulu Alpha thwarted Arklow’s title defense of the $1,000,405 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) in fine style Saturday afternoon at Kentucky Downs. Getting first jump on that rival, Zulu Alpha stormed to the lead in the final quarter-mile and won by 3 1/4 lengths under Jose Ortiz.
“I was more worried about Arklow because I know he could handle the distance,” Ortiz said. “I smooched at my horse passing the three eighths, and he was there for me. So I was very confident waiting for him…When we passed the quarter pole, I went on. I didn’t feel (Arklow) closing on, I said ‘alright, let’s go.’ He exploded. He gave me a great run.”
Winner earlier this season of the Mac Diarmida (G2) and W.L. McKnight (G3) at Gulfstream, Zulu Alpha ended a four-race losing streak here in a time of 2:28.62 for 1 1/2 miles on firm ground. The Mike Maker trainee returned $6.20 as the second choice. Arklow, the 8-5 favorite, was second by a half-length over Campaign, with pace-setter Factor This fourth.
Bred by Calumet Farm, Zulu Alpha was claimed by owner Michael Hui for $80,000 nearly a year ago at Churchill Downs. The gelded son of Street Cry immediately paid dividends, scoring a two-length victory over Arklow in the Sycamore (G3) at Keeneland.
Zulu Alpha won two of three at Gulfstream last winter, but could only place in the Elkhorn (G2) and United Nations (G1). He also finished behind Arklow in both the Man o’ War (G1) and Bowling Green (G2) when unplaced.
Now six, Zulu Alpha has bankrolled $1,172,544 from a line of 28-9-4-5. A half-brother to stakes winner Bank of Eight, Zulu Alpha is out of the A.P. Indy mare Zori, a half-sister to 1997 champion three-year-old filly Ajina. This is also the family of multiple Grade 1 winner and sire Quality Road.
Speed was good most of the day at Kentucky Downs. In the $356,320 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3), Ms Bad Behavior returned successfully from a five-month layoff by posting a wire-to-wire score under Jose Ortiz.
Breaking outside her seven rivals, the 7-1 chance maintained a one-length lead most of the way over 11-10 favorite Mitchell Road before extending the advantage slightly in the final yards. The official margin was 1 1/2 lengths for the four-year-old daughter of Blame, who covered one mile in 1:35.25. Richard Baltas trains the four-year-old
Owned by Sayjay Racing, Greg Hall, and Brooke Hubbard, Ms Bad Behavior paid $16.60. Mitchell Road finished three parts of a length ahead of Simply Breathless for second.
This was the second career stakes win for Ms Bad Behavior, who previously landed the $80,000 China Doll at Santa Anita in March 2018. She had placed in eight other stakes, including 2018 San Clemente (G2), Providencia (G3), and Autumn Miss (G3), as well as the Buena Vista (G2) and Megahertz (G3) earlier this year.
Bred in Ontario by Ron Clarkson and a $75,000 Keeneland September purchase, Ms Bad Behavior was produced by the multiple stakes-winning Cumulonimble, a Stormy Atlantic mare also represented by this year by Queen’s Plate winner One Bad Boy.
Cambria, one of the two fillies in the field of 11 in the $454,750 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, dug deep and repelled a challenge from Chimney Rock in deep stretch to claim the 6 1/2-furlong event by a head, thus extending her unbeaten streak to three races.
A homebred racing for Stonestreet Stables, Cambria returned $18 after completing the course in 1:17.40 under Tyler Gaffalione. Prince of Thieves finished three lengths behind Chimney Rock in third, while 5-2 favorite Souper Dormy checked in fifth.
This was the first start against males for Cambria, who had taken her May 20 debut and a July 30 allowance, both against fillies, over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs for trainer Wesley Ward. Ward said he’d likely train Cambria straight up to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in early November.
By Speightstown, Cambria was reared by Grade 2 winner Teen Pauline, by Tapit.