Barn Notes

Griff Looks to Swoop In and Steal Victory in Jersey Shore Stakes

Posted Thursday, Aug 14, 2014

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            This 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 Hills, Griff’s 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 step up.”

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.”

            Since his 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.”

            Because of 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.

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