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Holiday Valley Ski Resort

The Kentucky Cup Turf Festival

Dateline: 09/19/98

After being closed for several years, Kentucky Downs (formerly the Duelling Grounds) reopened this year under the management of Turfway Park. The track is grass only with a European style turf course of rolling hills and wide sweeping turns. Today they had the inaugural running of the Kentuck Cup Turf Festival with $700,000 spread over 4 stakes races: KY Cup Turf Dash (6f, $100,000), KY Cup Ladies Turf (8f, $100,000), KY Cup Mile (8f, $200,000), KY Cup Turf (12f, $300,000). Because the horsemen were a bit leery of the course since it had been idle for so long, they didn't get as many stars and they hoped but it was still a nice day of racing.

The feature race was won by the 8 year old Irish bred Yaqthan who had a large and vocal busload of owners there to cheer him on. He had previously won the Dallas Turf Cup and Independence Day Breeders' Cup but was trying 1 1/2 miles for the first time. He did put on a nice display in the paddock looking very much like a winner. He broke on top and lead the entire way despite constant pressure and the final part of the stretch being uphill.

You may view the charts of all four races here:

Here are a few photos from the day taken with my digital camera:

The favorite for the Dash was Heckofaralph who looked great in the paddock but he just couldn't hold on in the last part of the stretch drive which is slightly uphill.

G H's Pleasure who has chased Heckofaralph a couple of times before got his revenge at the longer distance.

Pleasant Temper on the lead in the stretch of the Ladies.

Pleasant Temper going to get her picture taken after winning the Ladies.

Rob 'n Gin was the big favorite in the Mile and lived up to his reputation, winning in style.

Rob 'n Gin heading to the winner's circle.

Rob 'n Gin again, he just looked so nice I had to include another.

Yaqthan in the paddock. He was really on his toes and looked like he wanted to win today.

The field goes by the first time with Yaqthan on the lead and Manila Magic in second.

Yaqthan in front in the stretch. Although he had a clear lead at this point, he had two closer coming up behing him.

Yaqthan going to get his picture taken with his large group of owners.

Have you ever eaten food served from a pig? This was one of the concession stands behind the bleacher seats.

What else would a guy who owns a giant pig drive?

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