After two adventures in grade I company, trainer Graham Motion brings Wertheimer & Frere's homebred Nutello to the $100,000 Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland on Oct. 17, where the 4-year-old colt is favored at 7-2 on the morning line.
The 1 1/2-mile Sycamore, race 8 of nine with an approximate post time of 4:49 p.m. EDT, has drawn a field of nine older runners including millionaire Rahystrada and Kentucky Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) winner Temeraine, both at odds of 4-1.
Nutello, by Lemon Drop Kid, looks to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Sept. 28 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Belmont Park. Six weeks earlier, the listed stakes winner in France made his U.S. debut in the Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) to finish third with a big effort behind Big Blue Kitten and Twilight Eclipse.
Mario Pino rides Nutello from post 8 under 121 pounds, the impost carried by all except 123-pound highweight Temeraine, who leaves post 3 under David Flores.
That contender, who finished a neck ahead of Olympic Thunder in the 1 1/2-mile Kentucky Turf Cup on Sept. 14, is a 4-year-old Arch gelding trained by Tom Proctor for Niall Racing. He came into his latest race off a fifth in the Aug. 17 Arlington Million (gr. IT) after finishing second behind Rahystrada in the July 13 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
Rahystrada, fourth in the 2012 edition of this event, must recover from an 11th-place finish in the Arlington Million after winning the Arlington Handicap upon a record-setting third occasion for owner Robert Courtney Jr. The 9-year-old Rahy gelding has earned $1,381,750 in 45 starts with 14 wins and will be ridden from post 6 by Leandro Goncalves.
"He's pretty special and still performing at a high level," trainer Byron "Scooter" Hughes remarked. "When he won the Arlington Handicap for the third time this summer as a 9-year-old, that was probably the biggest highlight."
Brazilian-bred Olympic Thunder also fits well in this spot and could make the jump after his runner-up finish in the Kentucky Turf Cup for trainer Ken McPeek. By Durban Thunder, he is a group I winner in his native country but has yet to win in three starts in the U.S. for Haras Regina. Alan Garcia rides from post 4.
Sept. 21 Laurel Turf Cup Stakes winner Tricky Hat and Phipps Stable's allowance winner Reflecting are two starters for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. Riverdee Stable's Eagle Poise, runner-up by a late-closing neck in the Laurel Turf Cup, is also trained by Motion. Shadwell Stable's graded stakes-placed Najjaar for trainer Danny Peitz and Team Block's multiple stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Suntracer for trainer Chris Block complete the field.
$100,000 Sycamore Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 8, approximate post time 4:49 p.m. EDT), 3YOs & Up, 1 1/2 miles (turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Weight, Odds
1. Eagle Poise, J. Rocco Jr., 121, H G Motion, 12-1
2. Reflecting, R. Albarado, 121, C R McGaughey III, 5-1
3. Temeraine, D. Flores, 123, T F Proctor, 4-1
4. Olympic Thunder, A. Garcia, 121, K G McPeek, 8-1
5. Suntracer, S. Bridgmohan, 121, C M Block, 8-1
6. Rahystrada, L. Goncalves, 121, B G Hughes, 4-1
7. Najjaar, J. Graham, 121, D C Peitz, 20-1
8. Nutello, M. Pino, 121, H G Motion, 7-2
9. Tricky Hat, R. Napravnik, 121, C R McGaughey III, 5-1