Saturday marks the 23rd running of the Jersey Shore Stakes at Monmouth Park where a field of six 3-year-olds
will sprint six furlongs along the Monmouth strip in search of the winner’s
share of the $100,000 purse and a graded stakes victory. Among the runners will
be Griff, poised to strike for his first stakes victory in this Grade 3 event.
“This race every year is kind of a
wide open race,” said Tim
conditioner. “It’s really a good opportunity. The timing here was absolutely
perfect. We were disappointed in his first few races but when he did step up
and run the way he thought he would we were thrilled. It’s straight 3-year-olds
as opposed to stepping up to older, so this is a step up for him but not a huge
A 3-year-old gelding by Rockport Harbor out of the Dehere mare Got a
Glow, Griff has two victories in his six career starts, including his last race
where he bested the field by over four lengths in an allowance event at Parx on
July 20, stepping the six furlongs in 1:10 flat.
“I really liked his last race,”
Hills said. “The blinkers helped get him to concentrate and the rider (Roberto
Alvarado Jr.) rode him exactly the way I wanted him ridden. He’s a long
striding horse and you have to sit on him and hold him together and he’ll give
you a really good punch if you sit and ask him in the stretch. He had nowhere
to go for a while but once he was swung out he took off.”
last race Griff has posted three workouts, all at Monmouth Park.
First on August 1 when he stepped four furlongs over a fast main track in :49
1/5, next on August 7 breezing five furlongs in 1:02 3/5, and most recently on
August 12 when he worked three furlongs in : 36 2/5.
“He trains really well,” said
Hills, “especially when he works in company otherwise he doesn’t concentrate
very well. He’s kind of a clown, but he did work in company the other day and
worked really well for the race.”
the tough competition in the Jersey
Shore, Griff will enter
the race as an underdog, the longest shot on the morning line at 8-1. Among the
competitors are 9-5 morning line favorite and stakes-winner Favorite Tale, as
well as graded stakes winner Debt Ceiling. Although Hills acknowledges that his
race is a step up, he is sticking with his strategy and plans for his horse to
try and come from behind.
“This race traditionally has a good
pace,” said Hills, “so we’ll track the pace and go for our run in the stretch.”
Roberto Alvarado Jr. will return in
the irons aboard Griff in the Jersey Shore Stakes, which will go as race 11 on
Saturday’s 12-race card.