With a different home, a new spot on the calendar, and as preps for an inaugural Breeders’ Cup race, the $150,000 Nashua (gr. II) and $100,000 Tempted (gr. III) stakes have taken on a whole different look.
Previously held at Aqueduct in November, the Nashua and Tempted will be run Oct. 2 at Belmont Park, and both races will serve as preps for the new Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. The Nashua, for 2-year-olds males, drew a field of eight, while the Tempted, for 2-year-old fillies, attracted five. Both are run on the main track at the Breeders’ Cup distance of six furlongs.
Along with a pair of graded races for juveniles on turf, the Nashua and Tempted highlight Belmont’s 10-race Sunday card. The Tempted was carded as the third race with a probable post time of 2:04 p.m. EDT, while the Nashua will go as race 7 at approximately 4:13 p.m.
The headliner for the Nashua is J. Kirk and Judy Robison’s She Digs Me, a winner of three straight races for Steve Asmussen. The son of Henny Hughes broke his maiden at Churchill in early July, came back three weeks later to win the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park, and then romped by 6 1/4 lengths in the Sept. 3 Sapling (gr. III) at six furlongs.
She Digs Me, the 122-pound high weight and 2-1 morning-line choice, worked five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 at Belmont on Sept. 19 to get ready for the Nashua, which was shortened from one mile. Elvis Trujillo will keep the mount on the chestnut colt, who was a $50,000 purchase at the Keeneland September 2010 yearling sale.
“This horse has always done everything right, and he likes Monmouth,” said Asmussen’s assistant Toby Sheets. “This is a logical progression. He breezed well, and he’ll have to step up his game a little.”
Asmussen will also send out Winchell Thoroughbreds’ homebred Seeker, a son of Hard Spun who trounced a maiden special field by 6 1/2 lengths in the Saratoga slop Sept. 5.
Vexor, a son of Wildcat Heir, defeated Seeker by 1 1/4 lengths when breaking his maiden Aug. 10 at Saratoga, but finished eighth in the Three Chimneys Hopeful (gr. I), which was run on a sloppy track.
“The horse hated the sloppy track in the Hopeful,” trainer John Kimmel said. “David Cohen said after the race that when he came out to warm up, he was slipping and stumbling and didn’t even want to go onto the track."
The Tempted, also shortened from one mile, is led by Georgie's Angel, who looks to rebound from the Sept. 4 Spinaway (gr. I) when she finished fourth. The daughter of Bellamy Road was a decisive maiden winner at Churchill on July 4 and took the July 22 Schuylerville (gr. III) at Saratoga by 1 1/2 lengths less than three weeks later. Todd Pletcher trains the filly, who will be ridden by John Velazquez.
"I didn’t think she got a wonderful trip in the Spinaway," Pletcher said. "She was kind of stuck down inside and didn’t seem to fire her ‘A’ race. We hope to change her post position. We’d like to be toward the outside.”
Supplemented to the Tempted were pair of good-looking fillies, Perennial Song and Believe You Can. Shipping in from Parx Racing for Tony Dutrow is Perennial Song, who is unbeaten in two starts. The homebred daughter of Songandaprayer won a first-level allowance race by three lengths Sept. 20.
Brereton Jones’ homebred Believe You Can won her last two starts at Delaware Park for trainer Larry Jones including an Aug. 16 optional claimer by 4 1/2 lengths.
Trainer Eddie Kenneally’s Select Cat drew the inside post. Recently transferred from the barn of Pletcher, the daughter of Tale of the Cat broke her maiden by 5 1/2 lengths in a five-furlong race July 25 at Saratoga in the slop and then finished third in the Sorority on Sept. 5 at Monmouth Park.
“She’s been with us since we shipped down from Saratoga," said Tom Morley, an assistant for Kenneally. “She’s done one piece of work for us and worked very well. We’ll take our chances and see where we’re at. She’s been doing good.”
$100,000 Tempted Stakes (gr. III, Race 3, 2:04 p.m.), 2YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Select Cat (VA), R A Dominguez, 117, E Kenneally
2. Colormesaichi (FL), R Maragh, 117, T M Pompay
3. Perennial Song (KY), J Castellano, 119, A W Dutrow
4. Georgie's Angel (KY), J R Velazquez, 121, T A Pletcher
5. Believe You Can (KY), G Saez, 119, J L Jones
$150,000 Nashua Stakes (gr. II, Race 4, 4:13 p.m.), 2YO, 6 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Hannibal Lecter (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, J T Toscano Jr.
2. She Digs Me (KY), E Trujillo, 122, S M Asmussen
3. Seeker (KY), J R Leparoux, 118, S M Asmussen
4. Jagati (KY), C J Lanerie, 118, E Kenneally
5. Clip the Coupons (FL), J Castellano, 118, C C Brown
6. Trinniberg (KY), C H Velasquez, 118, B Parboo
7. Vexor (FL), D Cohen, 118, J C Kimmel
8. Angel's Tune (FL), J R Velazquez, 118, T A Pletcher