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Friday, April 27, 2012


PLETCHER RUNNER IS FAVORED IN HENRY CLARK STAKES


BALTIMORE, 04-26-12---Trainer Todd Pletcher will start Hudson Steele in the $75,000 Henry S. Clark Stakes, a race scheduled for one mile on the turf at Pimlico Race Course Saturday afternoon. The race could be used as a springboard for some to the $300,000 Dixie Stakes (G2) on the Preakness undercard.

Hudson Steele, a son of Johannesburg, has won three of five on the infield, with a victory in the Jersey Derby at Monmouth and a runner-up finish in the Ft. Marcy Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park to his credit. This will be Hudson Steele’s first start since last May and Chris DeCarlo gets his first chance to ride the 5-2 morning line favorite.


“He has been training well very well at Palm Meadows,” Pletcher said. ‘We are looking forward to getting his season started.”

Another runner coming into the Clark off a layoff is Humble and Hungry (4-1) for trainer Ignacio Correas. The Limehouse colt has six on-the-board finishes in seven turf starts, topped off with a victory in the Commonwealth Stakes (G3) at Churchill Downs to end last year’s campaign. Horacio Karamanos gets his first try on Humble and Hungry, who has finished out of the money just once in 10 career starts.

“We are looking to get him ready for the Dixie,” Correas said. “His last work (April 22 at Sagamore Farm) was impressive. Last year he was getting better with each race. He is a hard trying runner and always gives us a big effort. There is nothing not to like. The only time he didn’t hit the board was the Breeders’ Cup (2010 Juvenile Turf) and he was beat just three lengths.”

Correas also entered Monzon, who is on the also-eligible list. The Clark is limited to 10 starters.

George Weaver got two wins and a second on the grass out of Monument Hill (9-2) this winter at Gulfstream Park plus a very troubled third in the Appleton Stakes (G3) in his most recent start. Joe Rocco Jr. will ride the Royal Academy gelding for the first time.

Concealed Identity (5-1) boasts some strong Beyer Speed Figures from his two attempts on the infield. The Smarty Jones offspring, who is conditioned by Linda Gaudet at the Bowie Training Center, won the Find Handicap on the grass at Laurel Park last year. Sheldon Russell has the mount.

“I am very excited to have him back on the turf,” said Russell, who rode Concealed Identity in last year’s Preakness Stakes (G1). “I worked him on the turf two weeks ago at Laurel (April 11) and he just gives you such a different feeling on the grass. He beat Monument Hill in the Find and that horse has gone on to do some good things since, finishing second to Animal Kingdom earlier this year.”

Leigh Delacour has entered Lentenor (8-1), a full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Barbaro. Lentenor, who will carry Luis Garcia, has won three times on the turf, including twice in four tries with Delacour as his conditioner.

Delacour also entered Nicanor, another full brother to Barbaro, one of six also-eligibles for the race

Pocket Patch (20-1) was 10-1 when he won the Henry Clark Stakes last year. His other major win in 2011 was a defense of his victory in 2010’s Maryland Million Turf. Forest Boyce regains the mount.

Completing the field are Sleepless Knight (8-1), El Commodore (10-1), Kingofthebluegrass (20-1) and Paris Vegas (30-1).

The four remaining AE’s are Lil Mr B, Not For Silver, Colgan’s Chip and Bandbox.


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