LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Advice had barely cooled out after finishing 13th in the May 2 Kentucky Derby when his connections said they planned to switch the colt to turf the next time he raced.
That plan will become a reality Saturday when Advice makes his turf debut from post 1 with Garrett Gomez back aboard in the Grade 2, $150,000 Jefferson Cup, one of four supporting stakes on the Stephen Foster card at Churchill Downs.
Advice came to sudden prominence in the 3-year-old ranks with a 15-1 upset in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes under Gomez on the Keeneland Polytrack two weeks before the Derby. Trainer Todd Pletcher and the braintrust at owner WinStar Farm then went against their initial inclination, and forged ahead to the Derby, where Advice, ridden by Rene Douglas, finished 21 lengths behind the victorious Mine That Bird.
Since then, Advice "has been in steady training," according to Michael McCarthy, the locally based assistant to Pletcher. "He's had a handful of nice works on the turf and seems to handle it fine. He handled the synthetics at Arlington, Santa Anita, and Keeneland all very well, so obviously we're hoping that parlays over to the turf. The Jefferson Cup has been on our radar all along."
Advice is listed as a 5-2 morning-line choice over six other 3-year-olds in the 34th Jefferson Cup, which goes at 1 1/8 miles on the turf. His primary opposition appears to be Florentino, a speedy shipper trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, and No Inflation and El Crespo, the two-three finishers in the Arlington Classic three weeks ago.
The Jefferson Cup was inaugurated in 1977 as a sprint for 2-year-olds before being switched to its present form in 1988. It is carded Saturday as the seventh of 11 races and is the first of five consecutive stakes to end the day.