ELMONT, N.Y. – Jason Servis has three horses he’d like to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and another horse he plans to run in Saturday’s $150,000 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational. Yet the trainer’s depth in that category is such that Servis also has contenders in two of the three turf sprints carded for Friday’s nine-race card at Belmont Park.
In race 3, a second-level allowance/optional $62,500 claiming race at seven furlongs, Servis has the coupled entry of Fig Jelly and Dowse’s Beach. In race 8, a starter allowance scheduled for six furlongs, Servis sends out recent winner McErin.
Fig Jelly, a 3-year-old gelding by Forestry, was bought by a group led by Michael Dubb after he finished second in a race at Presque Isle Downs in May. Fig Jelly won a first-level allowance race at Belmont in July, then finished second to World of Trouble in the Quick Call Stakes at Saratoga in August. World of Trouble came back to win the Allied Forces Stakes here by 5 3/4 lengths in early September and is one of those three horses Servis would like to run in the BC Turf Sprint.
Servis said he was “thrilled” to see Fig Jelly run second to World of Trouble in the Quick Call. Fig Jelly came out of that Aug. 8 race with a temperature but has had ample time to recover.
Servis said the seven furlongs on Friday “should be okay” for Fig Jelly, who, Servis noted, raced on very soft turf in the Quick Call. The turf courses at Belmont this fall have yet to be firm.
Dowse’s Beach, a 7-year-old gelding who is in for the optional $62,500 claiming price, looks like he could be part of the pace, along with Blessed Halo. Dowse’s Beach is coming off a victory in a $25,000 claimer.
The main threat to Fig Jelly would appear to be Stolen Pistol, a New York-bred who was fifth in the Quick Call Stakes but came back to win an open-company first-level allowance race going 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga on Aug. 27.
In race 8, a starter allowance for horses who have started for a tag of $50,000 or less, McErin enters off a win for $40,000 at Saratoga on Sept. 3. He won that race by 6 1/4 lengths, earning a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 98.
That victory came on the front end. He had been beaten two lengths in a first-level allowance on July 30 at Saratoga in which he sat off the pace.
“We wanted to let him settle in the one-other-than,” Servis said. “He got beat a couple of lengths. I guess he made the lead – that was the difference. He got in front and got a big heart.”
McErin has the outside draw, which should give jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. options, especially with other speed in the field.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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