Mike Maker quartet leads Kentucky Turf Cup

The Grade III, $600,000 Kentucky Turf Cup headlines the Saturday action at Kentucky Downs. The 1 1/2-mile grass clash lured a full field of 12 and two also-eligibles. The Turf Cup goes as the last of 10 races; estimated post time is 6:42 p.m. EST. Plenty of top jockeys will make the trip this Saturday, so be sure to study these Kentucky Downs  races carefully if you’re playing FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#11 TAGHLEEB (5-1) is one of four entered by Mike Maker (OSCAR NOMINATED, ENTERPRISING and ST. LOUIE being the others). He will try to run back to his McKnight Handicap win at Gulfstream Park from earlier this year. Since then (five starts) he’s been in some tough spots, or has simply been asked to go too long. TAGHLEEB can handle the 1 1/2-mile distance, as his McKnight win indicates, as well as the tricky Kentucky Downs course (third in an allowance last year). Jose Ortiz, fresh off winning the Saratoga riding title, ships in for the assignment.

#7 ENTERPRISING (3-1, morning-line favorite) will attempt to recapture his form from earlier in the year that saw him capture two graded stakes at the Fair Grounds; he’s yet to win in three starts since leaving the New Orleans oval. ENTERPRISING was placed too aggressively in the Grade I Turf Classic at Churchill before coming up empty in a minor stake at Gulfstream. However, he put in a smart rally for fourth in the Arlington Million when last seen. Corey Lanerie was on ENTERPRISING in his latest outing and keeps the mount on Saturday.

#1 POSTULATION (9-2) has shown improved speed in his last two starts, wiring the Cape Henlopen at Delaware before taking over midway to score in the American St. Leger at Arlington. He faces some pace foes in here but can obviously handle the distance. POSTULATION looks like a must-use under Jorge Vargas Jr.

#4 OSCAR NOMINATED (7-2) hasn’t won in almost a year but that score came here in the Dueling Grounds Derby. He’s experienced some tough trips while picking up small shares in his last eight starts but has missed the board in his last two. OSCAR NOMINATED gets class relief dropping out of the Arlington Million but is not very appealing at 7-2. Julien Leparoux has the call.

#12 NESSY (20-1) and Brian Hernandez Jr. could sneak into the exotics at a big price. He was second in the John’s Call last time out and has a 1 1/2-mile win from three starts ago. This improving gelding hits the board with regularity but is just 2-for-16 lifetime.

The play: $2 exacta 7,11/1,4,12, $3 exacta box 7/11 ($18)

DFJ analysis: Jose Ortiz is listed on nine horses on Saturday. Three of them are on the AE list, but he could still have a very productive day. His stakes mounts include Fair Point (Ladies Sprint), Commend (Turf Sprint) and TAGHLEEB (Kentucky Turf Cup), all of which are 5-1 or below in odds.

Julien Leparoux has six mounts, all at 8-1 or below on the morning-line. OSCAR NOMINATED gives him a good shot to hit the board in the Kentucky Turf Cup.

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