09/05/2013 1:13PM

Delaware Park: Are You Kidding Me makes trek from Woodbine for Kent Stakes

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Tom Keyser
Are You Kidding Me enters Saturday's Grade 3 Kent Stakes off a runner-up finish in the Toronto Cup in July.

Woodbine-based trainer Roger Attfield hasn’t bothered to ship any horses to Delaware Park since Honimiere and Perfect Shirl were fifth and 10th in the Grade 3 Robert Dick Memorial in July 2011. But Attfield may have found the right runner to make the long trip from suburban Toronto to Delaware worthwhile Saturday.

Are You Kidding Me, second behind recent Grade 3 winner Five Iron in the 1 1/8-mile Toronto Cup, gets the same distance and grass surface for the Kent, a Grade 3, $200,000 stakes restricted to 3-year-olds.

The July 27 Toronto Cup was run during a driving rainstorm, and Are You Kidding Me chased Five Iron in second throughout the race, unable to make up any ground in the stretch. Although beaten 1 3/4 lengths that day, Are You Kidding Me was 5 1/2 lengths clear of the third-place finisher. Perhaps more important, Five Iron came right back to win the Grade 3 Saranac last Sunday at Saratoga.

The eight-horse field for the Kent includes Hard Enough and Michael With Us, separated by a head as the top two finishers in last month’s 1 1/8-mile Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park, and Saint Vigeur, who returns to turf for the first time since the fall of his 2-year-old campaign following back-to-back runner-up finishes in Grade 2 stakes on dirt.

Hard Enough upset the Jersey Derby at 12-1 and followed up by reaching the wire first in a four-horse photo in the Aug. 17 Restoration. Michael With Us might have been best that day, but he was bumped by fourth-place finisher Chamois and forced to check at the eighth pole before regaining his momentum to just miss.

Monmouth-based trainer Bobby Dibona has given the mount on Hard Enough to Daniel Centeno. From a limited sampling, Dibona is 0 for 5 shipping to Delaware over the past five years.

Michael With Us, the winner of the OBS Championship on a synthetic surface in March, is a deep closer making the second start of his form cycle. His trainer, Steve DiMauro, is 1 for his last 33 with horses making their second start off a layoff in a turf route.

Saint Vigeur’s first two career starts came on grass, including a runner-up finish in his career debut at Saratoga in August 2012. He has been off since finishing a distant second to Moreno, narrowly beaten in last month’s Travers, in the Grade 2 Dwyer in early July. Trainer Chad Brown shows a 6-for-18 record (33 percent) with horses switching from dirt to turf following a layoff of 61 to 180 days.

ray johns More than 1 year ago
Delaware's Kent Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the grass has always been a Fall Classic turf race for older , grass handicap race horses--it remains a key stakes race and continues to fill with live runners. Watch for the local turf star showing well against the Canadian and New York invaders.