The one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds is race 8 and is scheduled for 4:34 p.m.
Victorious in a pair of stakes on turf at Gulfstream Park this winter including the Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) in March, Howe Great was fifth in Keeneland’s Toyota Blue Grass (gr. I) in April, his first start on a synthetic surface. He returned to the turf for his most recent start, finishing third in the American Turf (gr. IIT) May 4 at Churchill Downs after breaking outwardly.
“He’s been unlucky with post positions in his last two starts,” said Graham Motion, who trains Howe Great for Team Valor International. “He’s drawn outside posts, and last time he broke outward. Horses tend to do that when they’re far outside, and I think it can definitely affect them. I don’t think his Blue Grass was all that bad, but he’s probably better on turf.”
Motion entered Howe Great in the June 13 Oliver Stakes at Indiana Downs before scratching the colt, saying that he didn’t want the son of Hat Trick to face American Turf winner Silver Max again and spot weight to most of his opponents.
Alan Garcia will ride Howe Great, the 3-1 morning-line favorite, from post position 9 in the field of 11.
Also coming out of the American Turf is GDS Racing Stable’s Star Channel, who was unplaced after losing his rider on the far turn. The loss snapped his three-race win streak that included a score in a Florida-bred stakes April 7 at Tampa Bay Downs.
“We’re not 100% sure what happened, but he finished the race without a jockey,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “We’ve regrouped with him and the horse is in good physical order. We’ll try again. His races three prior were quite good, and we hope to rebound.”
Star Channel, by English Channel and 6-1 on the morning line, will leave from post 10 with Joe Bravo aboard.
Also representing Pletcher in the Hill Prince is Mike Repole’s Our Entourage , who was fifth of six runners in an optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up May 13 at Belmont.
“He’s run pretty well on (dirt, turf, and synthetic), but we’re hoping getting back in with 3-year-olds on turf will help him give his best effort,” Pletcher said about the son of Street Cry. “That was a pretty salty group he faced last time.”
Eddie Castro has the assignment aboard Our Entourage, also 6-1, from post 8.
Summer Front, owned by Waterford Stable, will be making his first start on turf since his 1 1/2-length victory in the Dania Beach in December at Gulfstream. Since that race, the son of War Front was second in the Coolmore Lexington (gr. III) on Keeneland’s Polytrack in April and eighth on dirt in Belmont’s Peter Pan (gr. II) May 12.
“It was a disappointing effort on dirt in the Peter Pan,” said trainer Christophe Clement. “He came back and had two works on turf (five furlongs around dogs in a bullet :59.84 on June 3 and five furlongs around dogs in 1:03.15 on June 10). New York is always competitive, so we’ll see what happens.”
Summer Front, the 7-2 second choice, will depart from the rail with Ramon Dominguez at the helm.
Lael Stables’ Margano, a full brother to Barbaro (by Dynaformer), will make his graded stakes debut when he stretches out in the Hill Prince. Most recently, he closed to finish second, beaten a half-length, in the seven-furlong Tiller Stakes on turf at Belmont May 20. Junior Alvarado will ride Margano (5-1 odds) for the first time in the Hill Prince.
The field also includes Big Screen, fifth in the Peter Pan last time out; Film Shot, winner of a Churchill Downs allowance May 3; Spring to the Sky, who will make his turf debut off a second-place effort in a Belmont optional claimer May 24; Mr. Handsome, third in the James W. Murphy May 19 at Pimlico; Shkspeare Shaliyah, the 2011 Pilgrim (gr. IIIT) winner who was sixth in the Murphy; and Monarchic, who took an allowance for Pennsylvania-breds May 26 at Presque Isle Downs.
$150,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, 4:34 p.m.) 3-Year-Olds, One Mile, Turf
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer Odds
1 Summer Front R A Dominguez 120 C Clement 7-2
2 Margano J Alvarado 116 B Tagg 5-1
3 Big Screen R Maragh 116 T Albertrani 15-1
4 Film Shot E S Prado 116 W I Mott 15-1
5 Spring to the Sky M J Luzzi 116 B R Brown 6-1
6 Mr. Handsome E D Rodriguez 116 T J Tullock Jr 12-1
7 Shkspeare Shaliyah C H Velasquez 120 D Shivmangal -1
8 Our Entourage E Castro 116 T A Pletcher 6-1
9 Howe Great A Garcia 123 H G Motion 3-1
10 Star Channel J Bravo 120 T A Pletcher 6-1
11 Monarchic I Ortiz Jr. 116 E G Harty 20-1
12 Swag Daddy (MTO) No rider 123 R E Dutrow Jr. 6-1
13 Le Bernardin (MTO) No rider 118 K P McLaughlin 5-2
14 Easter Gift (MTO) No rider 118 N P Zito 7-2
MTO...Main track only