Dueling Grounds Derby Highlights Opening Day

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6:44 pm EDT

By Dick Downey with additional content from Kentucky Downs

Harkening back to the track's original name, on Saturday Kentucky Downs will present the inaugural running of the $250,000 Dueling Grounds Derby going 1 5/16 mile on its unique turf course. Ten 3-year-olds are entered, including Medal Count, most third in the Belmont Stakes back in June. It's the feature event on a 10-race card that has two other stakes races.

Medal Count and Global View are likely to get the most support at the windows.

Medal Count, a  son of Dynaformer out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Brisquette, is owned by Spendthrift Farm, trained by Dale Romans and will be ridden by Robby Albarado. The colt has lifetime earnings of $421,600. He was beaten only one length in the Belmont.

Earlier this year, Medal Count was fifth in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, won the Transylvania Stakes, ran second in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes and finished eighth in the Kentucky Derby. After the Belmont, Medal Count finished ninth in the Haskell Invitational but has been training forwardly for the Dueling Grounds Derby, most recently working five furlongs in 1:00.80 at Churchill Downs on Aug. 14.

Global View is a Tom Proctor-trained sophomore son of Galileo (IRE) out of the Storm Cat daughter Egyptian Queen. Owned by Glen Hill Farm, Global View comes in to the Dueling Grounds Derby off of a solid fourth place finish in the Secretariat Stakes contested on the undercard of the Arlington Million on Aug. 16. Global View boasts a lifetime record of three wins and two runner-up finishes from nine career starts, with lifetime earnings of $426,736. His most recent victory came in the American Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day.
Apprentice rider and rising star Drayden Van Dyke gets his first call on Global View. Van Dyke is coming off a successful meet at Del Mar, where he piloted numerous Proctor-trained runners to the winner’s circle.

Medal Count and Global View are, respectively, favored at 5-2 and 3-1 on the morning line.

Also entered in the Dueling Grounds Derby is Can'thelpbelieving (IRE), trained by Graham Motion and set at 9-2. After seven career starts, all on turf, Can'thelpbelieving has yet to reach his early promise but still has upside potential. After breaking his maiden in his third start, the son of Duke of Marmalade finished a close fifth in the Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. After near-misses in an allowance race at Keeneland and the Pennine Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park, both at nine furlongs, Can'thelpbelieving won going 1 3/8 mile at Saratoga on July 18.

My Afleet and Woodfield Springs are seen as the fourth and fifth favorites at 8-1. Also entered are Proud Azteca (10-1), Pumpkin Rumble (12-1), Captain Dixie (12-1), Rankhasprivileges (15-1) and Laddie Boy (30-1).

Free PP's Dueling Grounds Derby Nominees

A pair of additional stakes are on the undercard Saturday, as 2-year-old fillies go postward in the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies at seven furlongs, and 2-year-old colts take their turn in the spotlight in the $200,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile, also contested at seven furlongs.

This year’s Kentucky Downs live racing season spans five racing dates: September 6, 10, 13, 17 and 24. Post time is 1:35 each day. Purses for this year’s live meet average over $1,000,000 per race day. Nine stakes races will be offered.

Kentucky Downs features a one-of-a-kind European-style turf course. The Kentucky Downs race course is among the longest courses in North America at 1 5/16 mile in length with subtle elevation changes throughout the course, a sweeping turn into the stretch run and a quarter-mile run from the end of the final turn to the finish line going slightly uphill.

Kentucky Downs Event and Stakes Schedules