BY BROCK SHERIDAN
Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Me and Mr. C will try to extend his three-race win streak to four Saturday when the Florida-bred gelding goes in the $1.7 million FanDuel Kentucky Turf Cup (Grade 2) at Kentucky Downs. Despite the recent trio of victories, all in stakes, Me and Mr. C is labeled at 10-1 on the morning line of the mile-and-a-half Turf Cup which has attracted a dozen 3-year-olds and older plus four additional on the also eligible list.
Me and Mr. C is one of four entered from the barn of trainer Mike Maker along with Grade 1 Man o’ War-winner Red Knight and Grade 1 United Nations-victor Therapist in the body of the race and Red Run among the also eligibles. A 6-year-old gelded son of Journeyman Stud’s leading sire Khozan, Me and Mr. C is also the only entrant among the 12 main rivals without graded stakes-winning credentials.
His last three victories came in the $90,000 Soldier’s Dancer going a mile-and-70-yards on the synthetic course at Gulfstream on June 11, in the $102,000 Jonathan B. Schuster at a mile-and-a-sixteenth on the turf at Horseshoe Indianapolis on July 8 and most recently in the $192,000 Kentucky Downs Preview Turf Cup at 10 furlongs on the turf at Ellis Park. Saturday will be his first attempt against graded-stakes company.
Since being claimed for $40,000 by Maker in July 2020, Me and Mr. C has been a model of consistency with eight wins (five in stakes), four seconds and four thirds. Overall, Me and Mr. C has 10 wins, six seconds and five thirds from 33 starts with earnings of $545,039. He was bred in Florida by Stonehedge LLC and is out of Abiding, by Dynaformer.
Gerardo Corrales will ride Me and Mr. C from post six.
Therapist is the 7-2 morning line favorite having won three of his last five. In addition to the United Nations, Therapist won the Grade 1 Pan American going a mile-and-a-half on April 1 and a $35,000 starter allowance going a mile-and-a-sixteenth on synthetic on Feb. 11, both at Gulfstream.
Another successful claim by Maker having being taken for $50,000 out of a third-place finish at Gulfstream on Jan. 20, Therapist also counts among his six starts this year a second to Vivar in the $160,000 Chorelywood overnight stakes at Ellis on June 17 and an eighth-place misfire in the Grade 3 Louisville won by Kentucky Turf Cup foe Foreign Relations at Churchill Downs over 12 furlongs on a good turf in May.
An 8-year-old gelding, Therapist has 13 wins, five seconds and eight thirds in 42 starts with earnings of $1,353,815.
A son of Freud out of Lady Renaissance, by Smart Strike, Therapist will be ridden by Javier Castellano from post 11.
Another strong contender looks to be Verstappen for trainer Brendan Walsh, who looks to even the score with Me and Mr. C after finishing third in the Jonathan Schuster. In one start since, the 4-year-old son of War Front was second to Channel Maker in the Grade 2 Bowling Green going 11 furlongs on the turf at Saratoga on June 30.
Verstappen will race in the colors of owners Andrew Farm, For the People Racing Stable LLC and Windmill Manor Farm and will try to add to his lifetime record of four wins, four seconds and three thirds in 15 races with earnings of $514,607.
Declan Cannon will ride Verstrappen from post three and they are 9-2 in the program.
Since the Man o’ War victory, Red Knight was fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan won by Up to the Mark going a mile-and-a-quarter on the turf at Belmont on June 10 and most recently third in the United Nations.
Owned by Trinity Farm, Red Knight is by Pure Prize out of Isabel Way, by Florida-bred Skip Away and the 9-year-old veteran has 12 wins, nine seconds and two thirds in 36 career starts with a field best bankroll of $1,822,763.
Maker has given the riding assignment on Red Knight to Tyler Gaffalione and they have drawn post two. Red Knight is 4-1 on the morning line.
The remainder of the Kentucky Turf Cup entries includes Foreign Relations with jockey John Velazquez, Santin will carry Florent Geroux, Get Smokin and rider Fernando De La Cruz, Kitodan and jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., Never Explain will have Joel Rosario as his pilot, Nautilus (Brz) with Joe Talamo aboard, Another Mystery and rider Brian Hernandez Jr., and Spooky Channel with James Graham up.