ELMONT, N.Y. – A 3-year-old hasn’t won the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic since Kitten’s Joy in 2004, the first year the race was renamed to honor the legendary Daily Racing Form columnist.
Trainer Tom Morley hopes to end that streak Saturday, when he sends out Carrick against seven older males in the $500,000 Hirsch at 1 1/2 miles over Belmont’s Widener turf course. Three-year-olds are 0 for 9 in the Hirsch starting in 2005, when English Channel finished second.
Carrick, a son of Giant’s Causeway, is 3 for 4 in his career and enters off a 38-1 upset in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington. For what it’s worth, Carrick did run his 1 1/4 miles 1.25 seconds faster than Robert Bruce did in winning the Grade 1 Arlington Million on the same Aug. 11 card. Robert Bruce could be favored in the Joe Hirsch.
“If he’s good enough to beat the older horses in the Joe Hirsch, he’s one of the best turf horses in the country then,” Morley said.
Morley said the Joe Hirsch was more logical than the Grade 2, $500,000 Hill Prince for 3-year-olds next Saturday at Belmont. The Hill Prince is run at 1 1/8 miles, and Carrick would have to concede weight to others. On Saturday, he gets five pounds from the older horses.
“He has an abundance of stamina,” Morley said. “I think the mile and a half will suit him down to the ground.”
The Hirsch, which offers a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, drew a field of eight. From the rail out, it will be Robert Bruce, Hi Happy, Sadler’s Joy, Carrick, Teodoro, Spring Quality, Highland Sky, and Channel Maker.
Imperial Hint drew post 6 and figures to be a heavy favorite in Saturday’s Grade 1, $350,000 Vosburgh Stakes, which offers an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Imperial Hint enters off a devastatingly easy victory in the Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga on July 28, his first Grade 1 stakes victory and 11th win in 17 career starts. He drew post 6 in a field of seven that includes Sightforsoreyees, Maniacal, Forge, Mr. Crow, Silver Ride, and Still Krz.
Opry and Somelikeithotbrown, the 1-2 finishers from the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 29, were among the 10 horses entered for Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park.
Opry debuted on dirt and finished third, beaten a half-length by Cairo Cat, who came back to win the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs in his next start. Opry is trained by Todd Pletcher, who also entered the maiden Social Paranoia, second in three of four career starts.
The Pilgrim field, from the rail out: Rhythm With Soul, Forty Under, Dashing Dan, Vineyard Sound, Opry, Ole Mole, Somelikeithotbrown, Social Paranoia, Spirit Animal, and Pipes.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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