News & Barn notes

After More Than 23,000 Starters Kravets Eyeing First Graded Stakes Win With Nimitz Class in Saturday’s Salvator Mile

June 15, 2023

Bruce Kravets has started 23,375 horses in a training career that began in 1977. He’s won 3,756 races from that.

But he has never won a graded stakes race.

That could change Saturday for the 67-year-old Kravets when he sends out the streaking Nimitz Class, riding a five-race winning streak, in Saturday’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park – one of four stakes races on Haskell Preview Day.

The Salvator, the Grade 3 Eatontown Stakes, the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes and the Pegasus Stakes for 3-year-olds, the local prep for the Haskell Stakes on July 22, highlight the 14-race card.

“It would mean the world to me to win this race,” said Kravets. “I’ve been at Penn National since 1979. I’ve had a lot of good horses but I’ve never had a horse like this. It’s exciting.

“It was exciting to win four straight stakes races at Laurel. But to win this race would be something special.”

A 4-year-old son of Munnings-Five Diamonds by Flatter owned by Tom Coulter, Nimitz Class is 4-for-4 this year and 10-for-16 over a career that has made him Kravets’ highest-money winner ever with $464,880 in earnings.

He started his five-race winning streak with a win in the Robert Manfuso Stakes at Laurel on Dec. 22 and then won three straight races at Laurel before winning an allowance race in his last start at Parx on May 22. The distances of those victories have varied from a mile to a mile and 70 yards to a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth.

The Salvator Mile has attracted a field of 10.

“I think blinkers and a route of ground have been the key for him,” said Kravets. “He’s been pretty unstoppable since we stretched him out and put blinkers on him.

“Everything together has led to him being this good now – getting mature, blinkers and definitely running longer. His first couple of starts I sprinted him and he did win going three-quarters of a mile. But that’s not him. He’s a big horse with a big stride. He just wants to do his own thing.”

The Salvator Mile serves as the local prep for the Grade 3, $400,000 Monmouth Cup on the Haskell Stakes undercard, but Kravets isn’t looking that far ahead yet. He has a major goal in front of him Saturday that he is focused on.

“When you’re at Penn National you know what to expect with what people send you,” said Kravets. “They’re not giving you stakes horses or allowance horses. I’m used to the cheap claimers. So to have a horse like this means a lot to me.”

Jevian Toledo is listed to ride.