Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz figures to be the heavy favorite in the Sept. 1 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park. The $500,000 test for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the grass has attracted a field of 11.
In his most recent effort--and first attempt on the grass--Nobiz Like Shobiz posted a half-length victory in the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Aug. 6.
The son of Albert the Great launched his 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, followed by a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at the Florida track and a triumph in the Wood Memorial Stakes (gr. I) at Aqueduct in his final prep before the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Though Nobiz Like Shobiz finished unplaced in the Run for the Roses, he got back on track in his next start when he finished a strong second in the July 4 Dwyer Stakes (gr. II) Belmont Park. The colt sports a career record of 5-2-1 from nine starts and earnings of $930,600.
Richard Schultz's Starvinsky could also be peaking just at the right time to pull off an upset. The Fair Hill, Md.-based gelding has been perfect in four starts this year and has shown improvement with each outing. In his last start, the son of Stravinsky posted a 3 1/4-length victory in the local prep for the Kent, the Nick Shuk Memorial on the Delaware Park turf Aug. 4.
The Kentucky-bred failed to break his maiden in two starts as a juvenile, but got the job done at first asking by 3 1/2 lengths this year at Tampa Bay Downs. His next two victories came in a March 5 claiming contest at Gulfstream Park and a Delaware Park allowance race on turf.
Starvinsky holds a career record of four wins from six starts and has earnings of $104,580.
"He is doing terrific," trainer Bruce Jackson said. "He had a great breeze on Sunday. He is full of himself--he has a world of confidence, and he is a little horse that just loves to train and loves to run. He just really truly enjoys it and he is a neat little horse to be around."
Jackson is looking forward to Starvinsky taking on some of the best 3-year-old turf horses in the nation, especially at Delaware Park.
"Absolutely, he has done nothing wrong and he has never been challenged," Jackson said. "Quite frankly, we do not really know what he has until he gets looked in the eye, and then we will see what he has got."
Rounding out the field are grade III victors Soldier's Dancer and Summer Doldrums; stakes winners Buddy's Humor, Strike a Deal, and Twilight Meteor; stakes-placed runners Chaluiwitcane, Wheels Up At Noon, and Encaustic; and winner Return the Money.
Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT), $500,000, Sept. 1, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 miles on turf, approx. post 3:54 p.m. EDT
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey, ML Odds
1. Buddy's Humor, 118, Eibar Coa, 6-1
2. Encaustic, 116, Luis Garcia, 15-1
3. Summer Doldrums, 120, Garrett Gomez, 12-1
4. Wheels Up at Noon, 116, TBA, 12-1
5. Strike a Deal, 116, Ramon Dominguez, 5-1
6. Soldier's Dancer, 118, Mario Pino, 15-1
7. Twilight Meteor, 116, Chris DeCarlo, 6-1
8. Nobiz Like Shobiz, 120, Javier Castellano, 8-5
9. Starvinsky, 118, Jeremy Rose, 12-1
10. Chaluiwitcane, 122, Roberto Alvarado, 12-1
11. Return the Money, 116, Ryan Fogelsonger, 20-1