While most of the heavy lifting for the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Nov. 2-3 at Churchill Downs figures to be complete this weekend, trainer Brad Cox will use Keeneland’s $100,000 Sycamore (G3) at 1½ miles next Thursday as a likely springboard to the $4 million Turf (G1) for Arklow, winner of Kentucky Downs’ $750,000 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup in his last start.
“Preparing for the (1½-mile) Turf, it is not about the fastest but the fittest,” Cox said of Arklow, who worked Friday morning on the dirt at Churchill in :49.80 for a half-mile. Arklow is owned by the partnership of Donegal Racing, Joseph Bulger and Peter Coneway.
“I thought about the Canadian race (the $800,000 Pattison Canadian International-G1 at 1½ miles tomorrow at Woodbine), but it is too tough.”
So Cox will bring Arklow back to Keeneland, where he broke his maiden in his turf debut in April 2017.
“I know he liked (the turf at Keeneland) a year and a half ago,” Cox said with a laugh. “I will probably bring him over a couple of days before the race.”
Following his maiden victory, Arklow won the 2017 American Turf (G2) on Kentucky Derby Day but after two subpar efforts in New York in the summer went on the shelf until February at Fair Grounds.
In 2018, Arklow has compiled a 6-3-1-0 record and brings a two-race win streak into the Sycamore. In his most recent start, Arklow won the Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at Kentucky Downs going 1½ miles.