09/15/2010 3:42PM

Giant Moon won't have to deal with Haynesfield

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Barbara D. Livingston
Giant Moon is a prime contender in Friday's Salute Me Sir Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – A six-day delay in the carding of the $60,000 Salute Me Sir Stakes may have worked out just fine for trainer Richard Schosberg and his 5-year-old Giant Moon. Initially scheduled to be run last Saturday, the race is now being run as the third race on Friday’s nine-race card.

The timing of the race still keeps Giant Moon on track for a start in the $200,000 Empire Classic here on Oct. 23. The timing, however, did not work out so well for the connections of Haynesfield, a multiple graded stakes winner who would have been a solid favorite in the Salute Me According to assistant trainer Toby Sheets, Haynesfield would have run in the Salute Me Sir last week.

“To not have Haynesfield in there is certainly a relief,’’ said Schosberg. ``But I wasn’t shying away from him. We were running whether he was in there or not.”

Schosberg’s biggest concern regarding the Salute Me Sir is the weather. Rain was forecast Thursday afternoon into the evening and a sloppy track is not Giant Moon’s preferred surface.

“Anything but a deluge, I think we’re okay,” Schosberg said. “He’s won over a good track.”

Giant Moon has not run since taking the Evan Shipman Stakes at Saratoga on July 26. Schosberg had considered the Iselin Stakes at Monmouth on Aug. 21, but did not enter. He scratched Giant Moon out of a stakes-caliber allowance at Saratoga, hoping this race would fill.

Giant Moon is 3 for 5 at Belmont, including an allowance win here in May at the same 1 1/16-mile distance of the Salute Me Sir. Drawn on the outside in the five-horse field, Giant Moon, under Edgar Prado, could either stalk Manteca or go to the lead.

Manteca enters the Salute Me Sir in excellent form with two allowance wins and a third-place finish in a stakes race at Monmouth Park. He is 2 for 2 at Belmont Park and has also run well over wet surfaces. John Velazquez rides from the rail.

Too Tough Pete, Mine Over Matter, and Naughty New Yorker complete the field.