ESPN.com - Horse Racing - Rochester wins KC Turf on DQ

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Saturday, September 20
Rochester wins KC Turf on DQ




FRANKLIN, Ky. -- Rochester, the defending champion, was declared the winner of the $200,000 Kentucky Cup Turf after the first-place finisher, Art Variety, was disqualified for interference in deep stretch in the showcase race of the Kentucky Downs meet Saturday.

Art Variety, a Brazilian import who would have given jockey Rafael Bejarano his third win in the day's four-race Turf Festival, was disqualified after narrowly finishing ahead of Rochester and Quest Star in the KC Turf. The stewards determined that a bumping incident in deep stretch was serious enough to award the victory to Rochester, who had gone winless in eight starts since having won the 2002 KC Turf at Kentucky Downs and Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland.

Ken McPeek, trainer of Art Variety, said he thought the incident was negligible and that his horse should have remained the winner. The disqualification moved Quest Star up to second and rendered Art Variety third. The top three finishers raced in close quarters for the final sixteenth of a mile or so, with Art Variety, racing nearest the rail, coming out ever so slightly in the final yards.

"I just thought it was a very small bump," McPeek said.

Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard was on hand to watch Eddie Martin Jr. ride Rochester in the 1 1/2-mile KC Turf, which was run amid spectacular weather conditions and over a firm turf. Rochester returned $11.80 as the fourth choice in a field of eight older horses.

Bonus Pack took a sizable lead down the backstretch of the KC Turf but was engulfed by the three-furlong marker. All three of the top finishers moved into contention at that point, and they staged a fierce match to the wire.

Rochester, a 7-year-old by Green Dancer, is owned by his breeder, the Augustin Stable of George Strawbridge Jr. The victory lifted his bankroll past the $835,000 mark.

After Quest Star, the order of finish was Act of War, Cetewayo, Continental Red, Kim Loves Bucky, and Bonus Pack.

The $2 exacta combination of Rochester and Quest Star paid $44.60. The $2 trifecta that ended with Art Variety, a 13-1 shot, returned $393.20.

Ladies: Apasionata Sonata upsets
Apasionata Sonata gave Bejarano his second of two Festival triumphs when she rallied up the rail to post an 8-1 upset in the $100,000 KC Ladies at a mile.

Owned by Fred Seitz and trained by John T. Ward Jr., Apasionata Sonata ($18.40) pulled away to win by two lengths over Curious Conundrum, who had drawn clear with a quarter-mile to run. Blu Spur finished third in a field of 10 fillies and mares.

Apasionata Sonata, a 5-year-old mare by Affirmed, was making just her third start of the year. She entered the Ladies eligible for third-level allowances.

Mile: Hard Buck gets second U.S. win
Hard Buck, a 4-year-old Spend a Buck colt, ran his U.S. record to 2 for 2 by winning the $100,000 KC Mile.

Hard Buck ($8.60), owned by Team Victory, was ridden by Brice Blanc. Like Art Variety, he also was imported this year to the United States following one of the several trips that McPeek made to the Southern Hemisphere in the last year or so.

"We bought six down there and put three of them in training," said McPeek. "The two horses we brought here today have turned out pretty well so far."

Hard Buck tracked front-running Last Stand to midstretch, then surged to a short lead while Gretchen's Star also rallied to the outside. After a prolonged drive, Hard Buck proved best by a neck, while Last Stand faded to third in a field of eight older horses. Earlier this month, Hard Buck won the Tri-State Handicap at Ellis Park in his U.S. debut.

Turf Dash: Fredericktown takes photo
Fredericktown ($14.80), with Bejarano up, prevailed in the tightest of photos in winning the $100,000 KC Turf Dash.

Owned by Silverton Hill Farm and trained by Darrin Miller, Fredericktown led from the start of the six-furlong race before Abderian drew even in deep stretch. The two dueled to the wire before Fredericktown, a 4-year-old colt by Williamstown, was declared the winner by a nose following a lengthy photo.

Callthesheriff finished another 2 1/2 lengths back in third in a field of seven older horses.

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