Summer Stakes winner Prussian faces 7 in the Hill Prince Stakes.

Summer Stakes winner Prussian faces 7 in the Hill Prince Stakes.

Michael Burns

Prussian Looks to Return to Winning Ways

The Danzig colt seeks his first win of the year in the Hill Prince June 6 at Belmont.

Less than two weeks after being caught at the wire in the Lamplighter Stakes, Bill Mott will send Prussian back to the starting gate in the $100,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT) June 6 at Belmont Park. Prussian will face seven quality 3-year-olds in the one-mile turf contest, including Speak Candle, who was under consideration for the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) until a few days ago.

Owned and bred by Monticule, Prussian was beaten a nose by El Sultry Sun in the 1 1/16-mile Lamplighter May 25 on the Monmouth Park turf. The son of Danzig led for most of the way, but was caught in deep stretch despite digging in gamely under Daniel Centeno. Previously, the bay colt made his 3-year-old debut on the Polytrack at Keeneland, finishing fourth in the April 4 Transylvania (gr. III) after tiring in the stretch.

Prussian was 2-for-3 last year, breaking his maiden by almost seven lengths at Saratoga, then going wire-to-wire in the one-mile Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) at Woodbine under Kent Desormeaux. He led into the stretch in the Oct. 26 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf before giving way to finish tenth on the yielding turf at Monmouth.

Bred in Kentucky, Prussian is out of the Alleged mare Crystal Downs. Desormeaux will get the call.

Spark Candle was initially being pointed towards Belmont Stakes under the strategy that he could be a “rabbit” to help stablemate Casino Drive, but Japanese owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto and trainer Kazuo Fujisawa ultimately decided against that line of thinking. Instead, they will return the son of A.P. Indy--Serena’s Song, by Rahy to the turf, where he started his career. Spark Candle was 1-2-0 from four turf starts in Japan before coming to the states.

Spark Candle made his U.S. debut in the nine-furlong Peter Pan (gr. II) May 10 at Belmont, but he tired badly to finish more than 21 lengths behind Casino Drive. Bred in Kentucky by Bob and Beverly Lewis, Spark Candle was sold for $1.5 million at the Keeneland 2006 September yearling sale.

Another foreign invader with an excellent chance is Godolphin Racing’s Hatta Fort. The son of Cape Cross was bred in England and began his career over there, winning twice, including the seven-furlong Weatherbys Superlative Stakes (Eng-IIT) last July at Newmarket. The bay colt was off the board in a pair of group I starts last October (one in England, one in France) before coming to the states.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Hatta Fort debuted as a 3-year-old on the Polytrack at Keeneland, losing by just a nose in the April 6 Lafayette Stakes.  John Velazquez will ride him for the first time in the Hill Prince.

North Shore Racing’s Moral Compass has also been in good form. The Grand Slam colt enters off a 1 1/16-mile allowance score May 14 on the Belmont turf, a race where he was caught in traffic, then sent four-wide around the final turn to win by 1 1/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite. Prior to that the Barclay Tagg trainee was third, beaten only a length in the Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT) March 29 at Gulfstream.

$100,000 Hill Prince Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 10, 5:44 p.m.), Three-Year-Olds, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Titan of Industry (KY), 116, Javier Castellano
2. Hatta Fort (GB), 120, John R. Velazquez
3. Moral Compass (KY), 116, Eibar Coa
4. Spark Candle (KY), 116, Edgar S. Prado
5. Writingonthewall (NY), 116, Rajiv Maragh
6. Dynhocracy (FL), 120, Cornelio H. Velasquez
7. Prussian (KY), 120, Kent J. Desormeaux
8. Gio Ponti (KY), 120, Garrett K. Gomez