by Danny Brewer
On the last day of August 2019, a glance toward the Tennessee-Kentucky state line revealed this bright shining light. I am still not sure if that was the brilliant sunshine Mother Nature blessed us with or the glistening glow of the Kentucky Downs opening day?
The answer here is a little bit of both. The five day run over the European-style turf course in Franklin, Kentucky got of to a great start. The meet’s beginning saw large crowds and a record opening day handle. The ten race card that featured four stakes races saw $8,464,103 wagered with some hefty returns on the investment. The average win ticket on the day yielded $17.82 on a $2 wager with the lowest return coming in at $10 (race 2 Hellorhighwater). The 10 cent superfecta payout ($2.40 wager when boxed) averaged $626.58 with the lowest coming in at $52.27 (race 2) and the biggest day maker cashing for $1552.18 (race 4). The early 50 cent pick four paid $4329.50 while the late 50 cent pick four came home at $2066.10.
The payouts were prolific, but the day was not without superb athletic performances as well. Perhaps the best display came in the headlining Tourist Mile by Kentucky Downs darling Snapper Sinclair. Having won the 2017 Juvenile for Bloom Racing Stables over the same course, this versatile son of City Zip overcame traffic troubles early in the $700,000 trip over the turf. Coming into the clear in the long Downs stretch under jockey Julien Leparoux, Snapper gobbled up ground and got up at the wire in thrilling fashion. The triumph netted the owners their fourth win in four starts at Kentucky Downs.
“We love coming to Kentucky Downs,” smiles a jubilant Jeff Bloom. “This was a big one for us and to do it with Snapper is really special because he was our first starter here. He’s a horse that tries every time and it’s good to see a horse like him get his day in the sun. Great ride by Julien and thanks to our entire team in what was a really great win for us.”
So we understand the magnitude of a tremendous opener. The great news is they will run again on September 12. The September 7 date was the headlining day of the meteoric type gathering at the state line. With five Stakes races on the card including the Breeders’ Cup win and you’re in Runhappy Turf Sprint ($750,000) and $1 million Calumet Farms Turf Cup you probably should pack the sunglasses. First post is slated for 12:15 each racing day.
Could the super card slated for September 12 be even better than the opener? As they say at Kentucky Downs…”You Bet” !!!
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Danny Brewer is a freelance sports writer