You know the purse is huge if Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher — one of the more patient trainers in the game — is going all in with Annapolis after a short three-week turnaround in the $2 million Mint Millions Mile (G3) at Kentucky Downs on Saturday.
There’s a base purse of $1 million, with another $1 million tossed in by the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund (KTDF) for registered Kentucky-born and -sired horses.
Annapolis, a close second in the Fourstardave (G1) on Aug. 12 at Saratoga, is one of 10 Kentucky breds in a field of 12 turf runners. The 4-year-old War Front colt was tabbed the 8-5 favorite with jockey Tyler Gaffalione aboard leaving from post 10.
A quick turnaround for any of Pletcher’s huge stable of horses is rare, but it’s tough to pass up an amazing payoff from a unique American track that runs only turf races.
Last year, with the race called the Mint Million, the base was $600,000 with a $400,000 supplement from the KTDF.
There are a pair of other stakes Saturday worth $1 million or more for Kentucky breds, the Music City for 3-year-old fillies and the Gun Runner for 3-year-olds at a mile. The races are three of 11 stakes with $1 million or more purses with KTDF during the meet.
California-based multiple graded-stakes winner Cabo Spirit was expected to scratch out of Thursday’s opening-day $500,000 Tapit Stakes to run in the Mint Millions.
Also in the field is British’s Group 1-placed Ancient Rome, trained by Charlie Hills with Jamie Spencer named to ride. Ancient Rome is among the Kentucky breds competing for the big payout.
Annapolis won the Coolmore Turf Mile (G1) in 2022 against older horses and has finished first or second in 10 of his 11 career starts for earnings of nearly $1.5 million.
Churchtown, trained by Roger Attfield, is the 4-1 second choice with Julien Leparoux aboard leaving from post 8. The 4-yer-old gelding is 0-for-4 in 2023, with a fourth in the Connaught Cup (G2) at Woodbine on July 23 last time out.
The Mint MIllions has the potential to be American’s richest turf race outside the Breeders’ Cup. The race is the 10th race on the card with a post time of 6:28 p.m. CT.
1. Cabo Spirit (Rey Guttirrez), George Papapodromou), 20-1
2. Atone (Jose Ortiz, MIke Maker), 8-1
3. Stitched (Florent Geroux, Greg Foley), 20-1
4, Hozier (Alex Achard, Rudolphe Brisset), 30-1
5. Smokin’ T (John Velazquez, Shug McGaughey), 9-2
6. Ancient Rome (Jamie Spencer, Charlie Hills), 8-1
7. Gray’s Fable (Declan Cannon, Brian Lynch), 30-1
8. Churchtown (Julien Leparoux, Roger Attfield), 4-1
9. Get Her Number (Gerardo Corrales, Peter Miller), 8-1
10. Annapolis (Tyler Gaffalione, Todd Pletcher), 8-5
11. Dhabab (Adam Beschizza, Ed Vaughn), 30-1
12. Max K. O. (James Graham, Mike Maker), 30-1
The writing team at US Racing is comprised of both full-time and part-time contributors with expertise in various aspects of the Sport of Kings.