06/20/2008 11:00PM

Adriano heads rich Turf Cup


Adriano and Court Vision, both of whom finished far back of Big Brown in the Kentucky Derby last time out, switch to the grass for Saturday’s Grade 3, $600,000 Colonial Turf Cup.

The 1 3/16-mile Turf Cup is the first leg of the Grand Slam of Grass, which is worth more than $5 million in purses and bonus money to any 3-year-old who can sweep the four-race series, and headlines a four-stakes card at Colonial Downs that also includes the Grade 3 All Along for older fillies and mares.

The other Grand Slam races are the Virginia Derby at Colonial on July 19, the Secretariat at Arlington on Aug. 9, and the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25

Adriano, winner of the Grade 2 Lane’s End on Turfway Park’s Polytrack earlier this year, will be making his first start since he was transferred to trainer Bill Mott’s barn and returning to grass for the first time since he captured a first-level allowance at Gulfstream Park in January.

Mott shows a 3-for-7 record with horses moving from dirt to turf in graded stakes the last five years.

Edgar Prado, who was aboard for Adriano’s win in the Lane’s End and his 19th-place finish in the Derby, will try to work out a good trip for Adriano from post 10.

Mott will also saddle Court Vision. A two-time graded stakes winner as a 2-year-old, Court Vision has never raced on grass although he began his career with two good races over Polytrack, which often indicates a horse will perform well on turf.

Garrett Gomez, who has ridden Court Vision in all three starts this season, retains the mount.

Adriano, the 3-1 favorite on the track’s morning line, and Court Vision, the third choice at 9-2, will race as an uncoupled entry.

The horses with the best proven record on grass in the field of 10 are Sporting Art and El Sultry Sun.

Sporting Art won back-to-back Grade 3 turf stakes in Florida before lacking room during the stretch run as the 3-5 beaten favorite in the Arlington Classic.

El Sultry Sun has won 3 of 5 starts, including a pair of minor stakes, all on the grass. He was third, beaten less than two lengths by Sporting Art, in the Calder Derby.

Sailor’s Cap and Nistle’s Crunch finished close behind a hot horse in the Grade 3 American Turf at Churchill Downs on May 2. The winner, Tizdejavu, came back to win last weekend’s Grade 2 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs.

Kentucky Bear will be making his turf debut and may be a live longshot. In his lone start on Polytrack, he ran well to finish third of 12 in the Grade 1 Blue Grass.