09/22/2011 4:39PM

Belmont: Ask the Moon to try Lady's Secret

Tom Keyser
Ask the Moon, winning the Personal Ensign, will be pointed to the Breeders' Cup Classic after Saturday's Lady's Secret at Santa Anita.

ELMONT, N.Y. − Ask the Moon, who went from claimer to multiple Grade 1 stakes winner this summer, will ship to Southern California next week to take on Blind Luck in the Grade 1 Lady’s Secret Stakes at Santa Anita on Oct. 1, trainer Marty Wolfson said.

“I know Blind Luck is going to be in there, but if there’s not a lot of pace she might like that track,” said Wolfson, who noted he has Rafael Bejarano to ride.

The $250,000 Lady’s Secret is run around two turns, and Wolfson said that made it more attractive than the Beldame, a one-turn race run the same day at Belmont Park.

“I need to run her two turns,” Wolfson said. “Belmont is one turn, and she’s so much better around two turns.”

Ask the Moon won the Ruffian and Personal Ensign, both Grade 1 races run around two turns at Saratoga. Before that, Ask the Moon had run twice in one-turn races at Belmont. She finished second the day she was claimed by Myron Miller’s Farnsworth Stables for $75,000 and third in the Sky Beauty Stakes, in which she ran under trainer Gary Contessa’s name.

By virtue of her victory in the Ruffian, Ask the Moon earned an automatic, entry-fees-paid-for berth into the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic, which will be run on Nov. 4 at Churchill Downs. Wolfson said Ask the Moon will be pointed to the Ladies' Classic and then is catalogued to be sold at the Fasig-Tipton horses of all ages sale a few days after the Breeders’ Cup.

Wolfson said Ask the Moon has come out of her two Grade 1 races at Saratoga in excellent shape.

“She stood up to it really good,” Wolfson said. “She’s a big strong mare. That’s why I claimed her.”

Wilburn to Indiana Derby

For the second straight year, trainer Steve Asmussen elected to skip the Pennsylvania Derby with a horse that won the prep race for it. Last year, Thiskyhasnolimit won the Smarty Jones, and then came back to run second to Lookin at Lucky in the Indiana Derby.

This year, Asmussen won the $300,000 Smarty Jones with Wilburn, but kept him out of Saturday’s Pennsylvania Derby. He too is being pointed to the Indiana Derby, scheduled for Oct. 1 at Hoosier Park.

The Smarty Jones and Pennsylvania Derby are run less than three weeks apart.

“It had more to do with the 19 days,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant. “The horse runs hard. When we ran him back quick in the allowance race at Santa Anita, it wasn’t really what he wanted to do, so we figured we’d space his races out appropriately, and he’s responded well from that.”

Wilburn, a son of Bernardini, is owned by Stonestreet Stable.

Nehro pointed to 2012 campaign

Nehro, the Kentucky Derby runner-up, will not race again this year and will be pointed to a 2012 campaign, Blasi said.

Nehro came out of his fourth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes with an ankle chip that was surgically removed. He returned to Asmussen’s care during the Saratoga meet and had resumed training. But when it became obvious he would not be able to make it back for a fall campaign, the decision was made to focus on next year.

“We got him up to Saratoga with the intention of hopefully being able to work him,” Blasi said. “But you could tell we weren’t going to be able to push him like that off of ankle surgery, so we’re just going to give him more time and hopefully look forward to next year.”

Nehro, owned by Ahmed Zayat, is currently at Churchill Downs.

Smokin Hero stretches out

Smokin Hero won the Noble Nashua Stakes going a mile here in June. Saturday, he will attempt to win a second running of the Noble Nashua, this time at 1 1/16 miles. This is actually the third Noble Nashua run in New York this year; the first one was held in April at Aqueduct.

When Smokin Hero ran in the Noble Nashua in June, he had never run beyond 6 1/2 furlongs. But after pressing a hot early pace, Smokin Hero dropped back to fourth, but rerallied to beat Spa City Fever by a head.

“I don’t think he’s going to have much of a problem with a mile and a sixteenth,” trainer Chris Englehart said. “He got the mile okay.”

Englehart said he is using the Noble Nashua to determine whether to try Smokin Hero in next month’s $200,000 Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles or cut him back to a sprint distance in the $125,000 Hudson Stakes at six furlongs.

In the Hudson, he would probably race horses such as Driven by Success and Be Bullish, who just beat him going seven furlongs in the Easy n Dirty Stakes at Saratoga.

The horses to contend with in the Noble Nashua are Socialsaul and Johannesburg Smile. Socialsaul’s three-race winning streak was snapped when he was run down late by longshot Bigger is Bettor in the Albany Stakes going 1 1/8 miles at Saratoga.

Johannesburg has finished third in the first two runnings of the Noble Nashua run this year. He is coming off an allowance win at Finger Lakes on Aug. 8. In June, he defeated Rattlesnake Bridge in a first-level allowance race run over a wet track, something that could come into play on Saturday.

Gitchee Goomie heads Hettinger

Multiple stakes winners Gitchee Goomie and Hessonite will tussle for bragging rights in the New York-bred filly and mare turf division when they head a field of eight entered in Sunday’s $100,000 John Hettinger Stakes at 1 1/8 miles.

Gitchee Goomie, trained by Rick Violette, won the Mt. Vernon and Yaddo Stakes this year while finishing second in the Dr. James Penny Memorial at Parx and the Irish Linnet Stakes at Saratoga. Gitchee Goomie breaks from post 6 under Alan Garcia and high weight of 123 pounds.

Hessonite, trained by David Donk, has won two New York Stallion Stakes races this year and is 3 for 4 overall. Hessonite breaks from post 4 under Ramon Dominguez and 119 pounds.

Others entered to run include Frivolous Buck, Freedom Rings, Mineralogist, Exclusive Scheme, Akilina, and Rogue’s Jewel. Spa City Princess and Go Unbrilded are entered for main-track only.