Edited press release
Fox Hill Farm’s Hard Spun has worked well twice at Turfway Park in preparation for the March 24 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-olds on the Triple Crown trail, and his owner said he’s looking for a strong effort from the Pennsylvania-bred colt trained by Larry Jones.
Hard Spun, by the late Danzig, finished fourth in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park in his last start. Jones said he believes the colt had trouble handling the surface at the Arkansas racetrack, so he shipped him to Turfway to prep for the Lane’s End, which will be run at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack. Hard Spun had trained on a synthetic surface before at Fair Hill Training Center.
Before the Oaklawn race, Hard Spun had won his first four starts, including the Lecomte Stakes (gr. III). He had shown strong early foot before the Southwest, in which he rated well but came up empty in the stretch.
Rick Porter, who owns Fox Hill Farm, doesn’t think the colt is one-dimensional.
“In his first few races, there just wasn’t much speed, and Hard Spun simply couldn’t lay off those paces,” Porter said. “(Jockey Mario Pino) would have had to put him in a stranglehold to do so. I imagine he will be very close, if not on the lead. If there is speed in the race, I think he will relax and stalk and be where we’d like him to be.”
The $500,000 Lane’s End is expected to draw a full field of 12, including Approval Rating, Catman Running, Forefathers, For You Reppo, Highest Degree, Joe Got Even, Sedgefield, Sports Town, and Twilight Meteor.
The Lane’s End card includes four other stakes, including the $ 100,000 Rushaway Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile. Among the probable starters is the impressive Dubious Miss, a Paul McGee trainer who’s two-for-two, including a win on the Polytrack at Turfway in his last start.
First post is 1:10 p.m. for the 12-race program. The Rushaway and Lane’s End, off at 5:16 p.m. and 5:46 p.m. Eastern time, respectively, will be nationally televised by ESPN.