08/18/2011 3:26PM

Calder: Arias, Azpurua looking forward to turf experiments

Jim Lisa Photos
Decisive Moment, with Daniel Centeno riding, wins the El Kaiser.

MIAMI – Logic would suggest that trainers Juan Arias and Leo Azpurua Jr. entered their top 3-year-olds Decisive Moment and Manicero for Saturday’s $75,000 Naked Greed Stakes with the hope the race will be taken off the turf. But such is not the case, as both said they are looking forward to trying their multiple stakes winners on the grass for the first time in the 7 1/2-furlong event that shares top billing on the marathon 13-race program along with its filly counterpart, the $75,000 Crystal Rail.

Arias said the closest he has gotten to trying Decisive Moment on grass was in the Grade 3 Spiral decided over the Polytrack at Turfway Park earlier this year. Decisive Moment ran a game second behind Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom in the Spiral, a performance that not only earned him a spot in the Derby but buoyed Arias’ confidence that his horse might someday prove even better on turf than dirt.

Decisive Moment has start just twice since finishing 14th in the Kentucky Derby, finally returning home to prove a popular winner of the El Kaiser overnight stakes over the main track on July 30.

“I’ve always wanted to try him on turf especially the way he handled the Polytrack in the Spiral,” said Arias. “I’ll run him either way on Saturday, but I’d really like to get the turf question out of my head, so I’d rather the race goes on the grass.”

Arias also made no bones about his strategy for the Naked Greed.

“I’ve found out this horse doesn’t want to be rated,” said Arias. “It throws his game off when you try to rate him. This time I’m going to send him. I don’t care how fast the fractions are. He can go fast and stay fast.”

Azpurua echoed Arias’ sentiment about having wanted to try Manicero on turf for some time.

“He’ll run either way, but I prefer to put him on turf,” said Azpurua. “The breeding on the dam’s side is excellent for grass, and he really handled it well when we worked him on the turf here earlier this month.”

Manicero has won 6 of 9 starts, including five stakes, but has not raced since finishing fourth and being disqualified to sixth in the Unbridled Stakes on June 11.

The Naked Greed drew a full field of 12 plus four also-eligibles, many of whom, unlike Decisive Moment and Manicero, may not run if the race goes as scheduled on turf. Only four of the dozen 3-year-olds in the main body of the race – Lake Nona, Oligarch, Silver Cloud and The Best Glacier – have won on grass.

Unlike the Naked Green, The Crystal Rail has attracted a much more accomplished field of turf horses, including the versatile pair of Battle of Love and Callmethesqueeze.

Battle of Love rallied to an easy win over the main track in the Three Ring Stakes on July 30 but has also crossed the finish line first in each of her last two starts on turf.

Callmethesqueeze ran down pacesetter Prize Informant in the final strides to post a narrow win in the Strikethedancer, a race taken off the turf and moved to a good main track, but proved no match when a distant second behind Battle of Love in the Three Ring. She is also undefeated on grass, having posted two impressive turf wins here earlier this season.