Saturday's Connally Turf Cup Ends The Coziness.
Article By: Hal Lundgren
Trainer Michael Maker's three entrants in the $200,000 grass race are stabled at Florida's Gulfstream Park. They'll ship to Sam Houston Race Park in the same van. Before Saturday afternoon's Connally, they will stroll in line for the post parade.
But when Kinenos, Bemma's Boy and Bay Street Money enter SHRP's starting gate, fraternizing ends. It's every horse for himself in a likely 12-horse field.
Bemma's Boy knows the track. The 8-year-old finished second in the 2020 Connally. Though two years younger, Kinenos and Bay Street Money are seasoned grass warriors. Kinenos has run 18 of 20 races on turf courses. Bay Street Money is 14 for 16.
Ten of the threesome's 11 career wins have come on grass. Winning is a habit, like their trainer's Connally history. Maker has won it a record seven times.
Here's how he sizes up the three runners.
"Kinenos had trouble in his last race," Maker said. "We're hoping for better results this time." The horse's morning line is 15-1.
"Bay Street Boy has a good history on grass," Maker said. The horse has earned all but about $5,000 of his $292,000 career winnings on the green.
As for Bemma's Boy, the trainer said, "We like the distance for this race." No wonder. The gelding has raced four times at the Connally's 1 1/2-mile distance. He has two wins, one second and one third. His morning line is 7-2.
Though Maker gets touted as a turf specialist, his wins come on all surfaces. And they've been plentiful.
Since 2017, he has ranked as the nation's No. 5, 6 or 7 trainer in annual earnings. Maker's peak year was 2019, when his runners grossed $6.5 million.
Now it's on to the Connally and three chances to jump start his 2023 revenue.