09/30/2011 2:46PM

Belmont Park: She Digs Me gets toughest test yet in Nashua Stakes

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
She Digs Me will seek his fourth straight win in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – She Digs Me goes for his fourth consecutive victory and third straight stakes score when he heads a contentious field set to run six furlongs in Sunday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua Stakes for 2-year-olds at Belmont Park.

The Nashua, traditionally run as a one-turn mile at Aqueduct and a prep for the Remsen in late November, was moved to the Belmont meet along with the Grade 3 Tempted and shortened in distance. Those two stakes as well as the Miss Grillo and Pilgrim, 1 1/16-mile turf races for juvenile fillies and juvenile males, respectively, will be run Sunday.

After finishing next to last in his debut over Keeneland’s Polytrack in April, She Digs Me finished second to the well-regarded Power World at Churchill in June. Since July 2, She Digs Me won a maiden race at Churchill and the Tyro and Grade 3 Sapling at Monmouth. The Sapling was a huge effort in which he raced four wide behind a moderate pace and drew off to win by 6 1/4 lengths.

“That was definitely a solid field, and he beat them pretty handily,” said Scott Blasi, assistant to trainer Steve Asmussen. “That horse has done just about everything right.”

The Nashua field looks to be tougher than anything She Digs Me has met to date, though two of the eight horses entered – Clip the Coupons and Angel’s Tune – are expected to scratch to run in Sunday’s $75,000 Garden State Stakes at Monmouth.

She Digs Me’s biggest challenge may come from his own stablemate, Seeker, who won a maiden race by 6 1/2 lengths in the slop at Saratoga on Sept. 5 after finishing third to fellow Nashua runner Vexor in his debut.

“He’s kind of a heavy colt, I think he might have needed the first one,” Blasi said. “The second one was in the slop, and it was a pretty dominating performance.”

After beating Seeker, Vexor finished eighth, beaten 42 3/4 lengths, in the Grade 1 Hopeful run over a sloppy track.

Noting that Vexor went from an 80 Beyer Speed Figure to a 0, trainer John Kimmel said, “It might have had something to do with the racetrack. Either that, or he’s bipolar.”

Trinniberg, beaten three-quarters of a length in the Grade 1 Hopeful by Currency Swap after setting the pace at odds of 68-1, is back in the Nashua. His connections expect him to be on the lead.

“We’re definitely going to the lead, and they’re going to have to come and catch us,” said Shivananda Parbhoo, the owner and son of trainer Bisnath Parboo. “Three-quarters should be good for him.”

Hannibal Lecter won his debut in a $100,000 maiden claiming race at Saratoga and has trained strongly since for trainer John Toscano.

“He’s got a lot of talent,” Toscano said. “We’ll find out how much class he has.”