Updated on 09/16/2011 7:20AM

Flying Dash's derby to be run on grass


CHICAGO - Flying Dash, who briefly was considered for the Kentucky Derby, heads a field of seven entered Wednesday for Saturday's Hawthorne Derby, a Grade 3 turf race with a $250,000 purse.

Flying Dash, a German-bred campaigned in Europe until this spring, won the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland by more than two lengths in his first United States start, and though he had never raced on dirt, his connections were said to be considering the Kentucky Derby. But after Flying Dash had an uninspiring main track work at Churchill Downs, trainer Neil Drysdale said Flying Dash would remain on grass, then selected the Hawthorne Derby over the Crown Royal American Turf last week at Churchill for Flying Dash's next start.

Flying Dash breezed a half-mile in 51.40 seconds Wednesday at Churchill. Drysdale said he'd hoped to work Flying Dash on turf, but turf works were canceled because of rain.

"It's too soon to say how good he is," Drysdale said. "He won well at Keeneland."

Kentucky Derby winning jockey Victor Espinoza will ride Flying Dash in the 1 1/8-mile Hawthorne Derby, in which the colt will be heavily favored. Flying Dash has yet to race beyond a mile, but none of his rivals has won a stakes race on turf. Quest Star and Colorful Tour will pose the main threats if their dirt form transfers to Hawthorne's turf course, which may well come up wet this weekend.

New York will wait

Trainer Chris Block said Cashel Castle is a likely starter next month in the $100,000 Northern Dancer Stakes at Churchill, where Cashel Castle suffered the first defeat of his career in the Derby Trial Stakes.

Like the Derby Trial, the Northern Dancer is run around one turn at one mile.

A start there would come at the expense of a trip to New York for the Grade 2 Riva Ridge. Block said he is leaning against the Riva Ridge because of logistics.

"I don't want to take him out there, turn around, and come right back here again," he said.

Block said a foray to New York remains a possibility this summer, but that it makes more sense to ship Cashel Castle from Block's Chicago base to Saratoga, where he could try a pair of stakes races, the Amsterdam and the Grade 1 King's Bishop, a seven-furlong sprint.

Cashel Castle, who won five races to begin his career, finished second in the Derby Trial, which was run on a sloppy racetrack that jockey Pat Day said Cashel Castle did not care for.

Salvino returns with win

A long time between drinks? Try 18 years. That's how long it had been since jockey Duane Salvino had won a race in Chicago. Salvino, who had ridden in Arizona and Kansas and worked construction since last riding on the Chicago circuit, won Sunday's sixth race at Hawthorne with Peering Over. Tuesday, he picked up a late mount on Singsingasong and just missed winning again.

"I figured I'd take a shot again in Chicago," said the 38-year-old Salvino. "I guess it didn't take long to win one."

Salvino has an agent he can trust - his father.

Sterling continues to roll

Jockey Larry Sterling, fresh off his first riding title in Chicago, did not lose much momentum as racing here moved from Sportsman's to Hawthorne.

Sterling rode five winners in 14 races during the first three days of the meet, and has picked up the mount for trainer Elliott Walden on Quest Star in Saturday's Hawthorne Derby.