As the summer days drift by (and I get closer to having to return to work after my 8 month sabbatical), how many more prominent three-year-olds formerly on the Triple Crown dirt trail will migrate to turf? Already we have seen Circular Quay who didn’t impress in the G2 Virginia Derby. Summer Doldrums won the G3 Colonial Turf Cup. Nobiz Like Shobiz worked over the Saratoga turf on Monday (7f, 1.27:24), apparently in preparation for the 9f G2 $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes on Monday, August 6. If, for some reason, he scratches, he is also nominated for the G1 $400,000 Secretariat Stakes (1-1/4 mile turf) at Arlington on August 11. The DRF is claiming he will run in the G2 Fourstardave Stakes, but his name is not among those nominated.
On Friday, Hard Spun arrives at Monmouth, in anticipation for Sunday’s Haskell. So, why is he also one of only 11 nominations for the Secretariat? As frequent readers know, several TBA bloggers would dearly love to see Hard Spun on the grass before he sails off to the breeding shed at year’s end. Please don’t tease us! Run him on the turf! Regretfully, it does appear that he will go in the 1-1/8 mile Haskell against Curlin, Any Given Saturday, Imawildandcrazyguy, Xchanger, local hero Cable Boy, and possibly Stormello. However, Stormello has also worked over the grass recently (7f, 1.31:20 at Del Mar). I’m not convinced he will make the trip east for the Haskell. I have no inside information (believe me, I wish I did!), but I would dearly like to see his connections give up pressing him beyond one mile, shorten him up and allow him to flourish as the pure sprinter he was born to be. Could they be aiming for the grassy G2 La Jolla Handicap on August 11, the G2 Pat O’Brien (7f on dirt) or (as I suggested before) the G2 Del Mar Mile on turf? Perhaps they want to go against the "big boys" in the G1 Pacific Classic...though I'm not sure he's ready to compete against older horses just quite yet.
One of my favorite hardworking colts, Teuflesberg, also worked over the Saratoga grass today (4f, .47.42). Et tu, Teufles? However, the DRF says he’s being pointed to the August 25 G1 King’s Bishop (7f). Maybe it’s just one of those crazy ideas Jamie Sanders has…
Finally, on a different topic altogether, for those like me gripped by the saga of perpetual maiden Four Acres, he lost another one on Monday, finishing in the middle of a large 13-horse field at Suffolk Downs. Going off at nearly 98-1, the battle-weary veteran lost his 72nd consecutive race—the only horse in the field completely (legal) drug free.