FRANKLIN, Ky. (Wednesday’s Sept. 1, 2021) — After receiving 21 entries, Wednesday’s featured TVG Stakes was split into two divisions, each offering the original $400,000 purse. The stakes, known last year as the Tapit, is restricted to horses that have not won a stakes in 2021.
That condition can attract some pretty salty company, starting with $1.5 million-earner Snapper Sinclair, who in three prior starts at Kentucky Downs won the 2017 Kentucky Downs Juvenile and the 2019 Tourist Mile and was second in last year’s Tourist Mile (now the WinStar Mint Million). Bloom Racing’s Grade 1-placed 6-year-old horse was a good second in his last start, the Grade 2 Wise Dan won by the talented Set Piece, after finishing fourth in the $750,000 Godolphin Mile in Dubai. Julien Leparoux rides for Steve Asmussen, who last month became North America’s winningest trainer.
In the second division (run as race 9 on the 10-race card) with Snapper Sinclair is another Kentucky Downs-loving horse in the Joe Sharp-trained Midnight Tea Time, who finished second in the stakes last year after capturing an allowance race over the undulating course in 2019.
The graded stakes-placed Majestic Eagle (Neil Drysdale) and Bob and Jackie (Richard Baltas) will ship in for California for the race at a mile and 70 yards. Other contenders include: Eron Do Jaguarete, a multiple graded-stakes winner in his native Brazil; Necker Island, who in his turf debut was a rallying third by a total of a length in Ellis Park’s stakes prep for the Mint Million; and graded stakes-placed horses Mr Dumas and Hemp Hemp Hurray, along with Penalty, Split the Wickets and Strong Tide.
Sole Volante, on the Derby trail last year after winning the Grade 3 Sam Davis and taking second in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby, returns to the turf in the TVG Stakes’ first division (race 9) for Florida-based trainer Patrick Biancone. Nine-time winner Tut’s Revenge was part of the pace before weakening to take second in Ellis Park’s Kentucky Downs TVG Preview Mint Million. South Bend has earned almost $500,000 just hitting the board as he attempts to win his first stakes since Churchill Downs’ Street Sense as a 2-year-old in 2019. Kentucky Ghost has raced well in five starts this year, including a close fifth in what has proved a tough edition of Churchill Downs’ Wise Dan.