Will the real Slim Shadey show up for Saturday’s Grade 1 $500,000 United Nations Stakes? His trainer thinks so.
“He’s been training extremely well. He shipped over to Monmouth (from Southern California) a couple of days ago and he galloped a mile and a half over the track this morning. He’s taken the journey very well,” said trainer Simon Callaghan, who has come to Monmouth for the first time to saddle the horse “We feel we’ve got him in really good form. We’re looking forward to this race.”
Early on he was campaigned in Ireland and England, where he once finished fourth behind the undefeated Frankel, and then was sent stateside and to Callaghan last fall. The third time out of the gate at Santa Anita, he won the Grade 2 San Marcos and then on Kentucky Derby Day stepped up to Churchill Downs’ Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic where he had to chase the front-running Little Mike. Last out on June 9, he was beaten only a length by Acclamation when the 2011 champion Older Male was left alone on the lead in the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham Handicap.
“He ran a very good race,” said Callaghan, a 29-year-old British native who also trains Grade 1 winners Dubawi Heights and Belle Royale. “Acclamation is a very proven horse at the Group 1 level. I think it’s nothing to be ashamed of to finish second to a horse of that caliber. Every run he’s had here, this horse seems to have improved. He’s stepped up for every race. Let’s hope he does the same.”
The United Nations, which is a “Win and You’re In” for the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, will be contested at one mile and three eights on the turf course. That makes it a three-turn test.
“A mile and three eights is probably his optimal distance,” said Callaghan. “He’s one of those horses that tactically can be ridden any way. He’s won on the lead before and he can come from behind. We’ll see how the race develops. You can pretty much put him in any position.”
David Flores, who has ridden Slim Shadey in all six of his American starts, will travel across the country to partner with him again. The horse is the 120 pound highweight in the field of seven and the 3-1 third choice in the morning line.
FLAT OUT IS FIRST TIME OUT FOR MOTT IN MONMOUTH CUP
Flat Out, the beaten favorite in last year’s $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, will be at Monmouth on Saturday to contest the Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Cup. The race will be his first for Hall of Famer Bill Mott, who took over training the multiple graded stakes winner this past winter.
“He’s a cool horse, he’s nice to be around, fun to train,” said Mott. “He’s just a real neat horse, he’s a good horse. I think he’s proven he’s a good horse. Scooter (Dickey) had him and did well with him. The (owners) wanted him to be in New York and I was the lucky recipient of him. I hope I can get him back to good form when he ran his best races.”
The Preston Stables LLC color bearer takes on a field of five others three and up in the one mile affair on the main track. Under Rosie Napravnik, he’ll face multiple Grade 3 winner Rule, one of two entrants along with San Pablo trained by Todd Pletcher, and Ponzi Scheme, winner of the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes here on opening day.
In his last start two weeks ago, Ponzi Scheme didn’t fare as well in the Donald LeVine Memorial Handicap at Parx and ran fifth behind Sloane Ranger, who is also in the Monmouth Cup field.
“We just threw that race out,” said Juan Serey, Ponzi Scheme’s trainer. “We had to ship on a very hot day and he wasn’t right by the time the race came. He should race much better this time. He loves this track, and we don’t have to ship in the heat.”
SATURDAY TRIFECTA OF EVENTS FOR THE FANS
Ten lucky fans on track on Saturday will win a $500 wagering voucher to bet on the United Nations Stakes.
That same day, sharp handicappers can test their acumen in a handicapping contest that will award two berths into the 2013 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship. The $200 due at registration includes a $100 non-refundable entry fee and a $100 bankroll and registration, which begins at 11:30 a.m. and is walk-up only.
Fans will also have the chance to meet their favorite riders, get autographs outside of the jockeys’ room and collect racing memorabilia on Saturday. All proceeds will benefit ReRun, which helps Thoroughbreds find new homes and second careers once their racing days are over.