06/14/2012 3:27PM

Belmont Park: Howe Great cuts back to mile in Hill Prince Stakes

Bob Coglianese
Howe Great will look to bounce back from a pair of losses in the Grade 3 Hill Prince.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Howe Great was no match for Silver Max when he faced that rival in the Grade 2 American Turf last out at Churchill Downs. But then again, no horse has been a match for Silver Max who is 6 for 6 on turf this year.

That’s why it’s so good that Howe Great doesn’t have to face Silver Max when he runs in Saturday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont Park.

The Hill Prince, a one-mile race restricted to 3-year-olds, tops a 10-race card at Belmont that also includes the $90,000 Mohegan Sky, a competitive stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf.

Howe Great, a well-named son of Hat Trick, went 3 for 3 at Gulfstream on turf before finishing fifth in the Blue Grass at Keeneland. In the American Turf, he broke from post 13 and finished third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Silver Max.

“I don’t think he ran a bad race in the American Turf,” trainer Graham Motion said. “The horse that won is freaky good. He had a lousy post; in his last two races, he had a lousy post.”

In his Florida races, Howe Great won twice at 1 1/16 miles and once at 1 1/8 miles. Saturday, he must navigate a flat mile.

“He was pretty handy around Gulfstream on those fast turf courses,” Motion said. “He’s done great since being back at Fair Hill. We gave him plenty of time since his last race.”

Summer Front went 3 for 3 on turf as a 2-year-old, including winning both starts at a mile. He finished second in the Lexington Stakes run over a synthetic surface before finishing eighth in the Grade 2 Peter Pan, run on dirt.

Summer Front, trained by Christophe Clement, will break from the rail under Ramon Dominguez.

Margano, a full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, was the last horse to beat Silver Max on turf, doing so last December at Gulfstream. After finishing seventh in a first-level allowance race, Margano underwent throat surgery to correct a breathing problem, according to trainer Barclay Tagg.

In his first start following surgery, Margano finished second in the Tiller Stakes going seven furlongs here May 20.

Tagg said that Margano was lethargic that day before Dominguez got into him “and he flew down the lane.”

With Dominguez committed to Summer Front, Junior Alvarado rides Margano from post 2.

Big Screen, a son of Speightstown, tries turf for the first time. Trainer Tom Albertrani was successful winning a stakes race with a first-time turfer when he sent Better Lucky out to win the Sands Point at 8-1 on Memorial Day.

Big Screen’s previous trainer, Frank Alexander, entered him in the Calder Derby in April, but that race was rained off the turf.

Film Maker, Our Entourage, Star Channel, and Shkspeare Shaliyah are other solid contenders in this field.