Hudson Steele won the Da Hoss Stakes on June 22.

Hudson Steele won the Da Hoss Stakes on June 22.

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Hudson Steele Could Shine in Oceanport Stakes

Trainer Todd Pletcher will try to win race for first time with son of Johannesburg.

After taking his seasonal debut at Colonial Downs, grade II winner Hudson Steele appears to be well prepared for a start in the $150,000 Oceanport Stakes (gr. III) July 28 at Monmouth Park.

RR Partners' Hudson Steele enters Sunday's 1 1/16-mile turf race off a narrow victory in the Da Hoss Stakes June 22 at Colonial, which was the first start as a 6-year-old for the Johannesburg gelding. Trained by Todd Pletcher, who will try for his first Oceanport win, Hudson Steele is expected to face 10 other starters.

Last year Hudson Steele posted back-to-back stakes wins at Pimlico Race Course, including a clear victory in the Dixie (gr. IIT). He then finished off the board in a pair of grade I races on the turf at Belmont Park, but he did place fourth one of those races, the Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT). In his lone previous career start on the Monmouth turf, Hudson Steele won the 2010 Jersey Derby.

Probably at his best from just off the pace, Hudson Steele figures to have plenty of early speed to target, including Mark Bacon and Dana Wells' Silver Max , who will make his first start on the grass since placing fourth in the May 4 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old son of Badge of Silver figures to go early, especially since the two-time grade II winner will break from the inside post.

Others who figure to be in the mix early include last year's Oceanport winner, Tune Me In; Decisive Moment, who two starts ago placed third in a stakes on the main track at Calder Casino & Race Course; and Two Notch Road, who finished third in the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT) June 9. Last year Patricia Generazio's Tune Me In dueled for the lead early and scored a narrow win in the Oceanport at odds of 25-1.
Although he's versatile in running style, James Covello and James Dolan's Swift Warrior figures to track those early Oceanport leaders and pounce late. The 5-year-old First Samurai  horse opened the year with grade III scores in the John B. Connally Turf Cup Stakes at Sam Houston Race Park and the Tampa Bay Stakes.

$150,000 Oceanport Stakes (race 12, approximate post time 5:38 p.m.) 3YO&Up, 1 1/16 miles, turf
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer, Weight
1. Silver Max (KY), R. Albarado, 118, D. Romans
2. Change of Command (MD), J. Bravo 118, M. Trombetta
3. Glass Art (KY), M. Franco, 118, G. Sacco
4. Tune Me In (FL), P. Lopez, 118, B. Alexander
5. Swift Warrior (KY), G. Stevens, 123, J. Terranova
6. Hobbs (FL), K. Carmouche, 118, K. Mongeon
7. Decisive Moment (FL), A. Serpa, 116, J. Arias
8. Hudson Steele (KY), J. Velazquez, 116, T. Pletcher
9. Top Notch Road (VA), S. Uske, 116, G. Thompson
10. General Logan (KY), J. Rose, 116, H. Motion
11. Howe Great (KY), A. Garcia, 118, R. Mettee