Warrendale Grad Hog Creek Hustle Aims to Add to Success in Jerkens
RSS Feeds Thursday, August 22, 2019

    While the riders opposing Hog Creek Hustle in the $500,000 H. Allen Jerkens Stakes Presented by Runhappy (G1) likely won't be able to physically keep an eye on the late runner, they'll try to brace for his stretch surge.

After rallying from 10th early to deliver an 18-1 shocker in the Woody Stephens Stakes (G1), securing the first stakes win of his career, Something Special Racing's Hog Creek Hustle doesn't figure to be overlooked this time when he again takes on top 3-year-old sprinters Aug. 24 in the Jerkens at Saratoga Race Course going the same seven-furlong distance.

As the 124-pound highweight Saturday, Hog Creek Hustle will pick up five pounds from his previous effort and spot his eight expected rivals two to six pounds and he's scheduled to start from Post 9 While the added weight and outside post could add to the challenge, trainer Vickie Foley likes how the son of Overanalyze is preparing.

"(Seven furlongs) is perfect for him, and as long as he came out of the (Woody Stephens) healthy, the (Jerkens) was the plan," Foley said. "We're running a fresh horse, and we're ready to go. He had a dynamite work (:59 3/5 Aug. 16 at Churchill Downs). And the way he did it was even better. You couldn't ask the horse to be doing any better."

While late-running Hog Creek Hustle will start from the outside post in search of his second straight grade 1 win, favoritism may fall to an undefeated front-runner who will start from the rail in Ivan Rodriguez and Albert and Michelle Crawford's Shancelot, who overwhelmed 11 other runners in this year's Amsterdam Stakes (G2) July 28 at Saratoga, drawing off to a 12 1/2-length score.

Trained by Jorge Navarro, Shancelot, a son of Shanghai Bobby, has never trailed in his three starts. The Amsterdam effort amazed Navarro.

"I will never see that again," Navarro said. "The last time I saw something like that was Secretariat. I will be lucky if he runs like that again. I knew he was good, but I didn't expect anything that amazing."

Apparently the big effort did not tax Shancelot, who has worked twice at Monmouth Parkfollowing the Amsterdam, breezing four furlongs in :49 2/5 Aug. 11 and six furlongs in 1:11 Aug. 18.

"He's come back and worked good," said Navarro. "It's amazing how he came out of the race. It's always a good sign when they are back in the feed tub the day after the race."

While this will mark the first meeting of Shancelot and Hog Creek Hustle, they have a common last-out opponent in Nitrous, who finished second in both the Woody Stephens and Amsterdam and will start from Post 5 Saturday. Campaigned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Stonestreet Stables, two-time stakes winner Nitrous also placed in last year's Hopeful Stakes (G1).

Like Hog Creek Hustle, Nitrous typically does his best running late. Trainer Steve Asmussen said he'll need a suface that allows him to make such a run Saturday.

"I think he runs solid races here at Saratoga, and seven-eighths of a mile is ideal for him," Asmussen said. "He's a horse that, just like (Runhappy Travers, G1, entrant) Laughing Fox, how the racetrack is playing will have a lot to do with (his performance)."

The third-place finisher from the Woody Stephens, Borracho, also is entered. He prepped with an allowance level victory July 21 at Saratoga and trainer Rusy Arnold said the son of Uncle Mo can build on that effort.

"We found out what he wants to do," Arnold said. "He wants to sprint. We tried him long a couple of times, and he didn't like it. We backed him up and sprinted him, and he's run well. He's run well up here. We wanted to run in allowance race and we skipped the (Amsterdam), which is a good thing with the way (Shancelot) ran. He's had a great month up here. He hasn't missed a day and is doing well. He's going to run his race back."

The only other grade 1 winner in the field is last year's Hopeful victor, Mind Control.



Courtesy of the Bloodhorse

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