11/19/2014 2:51PM

Edge of Reality leads Motion trio into pair of graded stakes

Tom Keyser
Edge of Reality, the winner of the Alphabet Soup Handicap, will be one of a pair of Graham Motion-trained starters Saturday in the Tropical Turf Handicap at Gulfstream Park West.

MIAMI – Trainer Graham Motion had plenty of options to choose from when it came to the only two graded stakes at this year’s inaugural Gulfstream Park West meet, Saturday’s Grade 3 Tropical Turf and My Charmer handicaps. Motion nominated four horses to both events.

In the end, he opted to enter Edge of Reality and Rapscallion in the Tropical Turf and only Magic of Reality for the My Charmer.

Edge of Reality is a multiple graded stakes winner who seems to have taken his game up a notch since switching to the turf. A Grade 3 winner on dirt with trainer Anthony Dutrow at 3, Edge of Reality captured a restricted statebred stakes when making just his second start on turf late this summer at Parx. He is coming off a fourth-place finish in a good field under allowance conditions going a mile on the grass Oct. 22 at Keeneland.

Rapscallion will make his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Tropical Turf, returning to grass off a very impressive 4 1/2-length allowance win over a sloppy strip earlier this fall at Keeneland.

“Obviously, this is a big step up for both of them,” said Motion, who will not be in attendance Saturday. “Rapscallion turned in a strong effort and ran a big number in a race taken off the turf at Keeneland. I always thought he’d be this kind of horse, capable of competing against graded stakes company. And that was a pretty competitive field Edge of Reality ran with last time.”

Magic of Reality has made only one start in this country, finishing a fast-closing third after encountering early trouble against second-level allowance competition going a mile Oct. 23 at Keeneland. She stretches to 1 1/8 miles in the My Charmer.

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“She was a little unlucky in her last race,” said Motion, referring to Magic of Reality. “But I thought she showed enough to merit a chance in this spot. And I believe a mile and one-eighth or even a mile and one-quarter is more what she wants than a mile, which she ran last time and had been running exclusively in Europe before she came to me.”

Nine horses entered the Tropical Turf, plus three main-track-only entrants. The field is led by the Grade 1 winner Lochte, Dreams Cut Short, and the hard-knocking New York-bred Lubash.

Ten fillies and mares, including local favorite Angelica Zapata, were entered for the My Charmer.

Main Sequence to Dubai

Motion has 25 horses bedded down at Palm Meadows and eventually will have his 35 stalls filled by New Year’s. Among the last of those to arrive will be Main Sequence, who has been on a well-deserved break following his victory over Flintshire in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. The Turf was the fourth Grade 1 victory in as many U.S. starts this season for Main Sequence, whose name is on the short list of those being considered for Horse of the Year honors.

Motion said Main Sequence’s first goal in 2015 will be the Dubai Sheema Classic. He will probably run in the Mac Diarmida on Feb. 21 at Gulfstream as his one prep for Dubai.

Motion said Main Sequence will go back under tack at Fair Hill next week, and if the weather cooperates, he will get one work under his belt around Christmas before heading to Palm Meadows the following week.

As for the Horse of the Year debate, Motion believes Main Sequence deserves as much chance as any of those under consideration for the honor.

“I’m flattered that he’s being considered for Horse of the Year, and I think he deserves to be,” said Motion. “He’s got an unblemished record. No other horse has won four Group 1’s in a row like he has this year, and he did defeat the best Europe had to offer in the Breeders’ Cup, [Flintshire], who finished second to Treve in the Arc. It would be a great honor if he were to be named turf champion, but it would be a real feather in his cap if he were to win Horse of the Year, even though he is a gelding.”

314 nominees to Crown

A record 314 horses were nominated to the 13th annual Claiming Crown, which highlights opening day of the 2014-15 Gulfstream Park championship meet Dec. 6. The Claiming Crown, which comprises eight stakes and is worth $1 million in purses, is at Gulfstream for the third consecutive year.

Trainer Mike Maker, who has won a record 12 Claiming Crown races, nominated 28 horses to the event, including 11 for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who also have won a dozen races since the series began in 1999.