02/05/2013 2:00PM

Gulfstream Park: Absolute Crackers puts stakes plans on hold in Thursday allowance

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Bob Coglianese
Absolute Crackers wins an allowance race in her Gulfstream Park debut on Jan. 13.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Trainer Graham Motion has nominated Absolute Crackers to Saturday’s Grade 3 Suwannee River as well as the Grade 3 The Very One the following weekend. But barring a last-minute change of heart, Motion will take the more conservative route with the stakes-caliber Absolute Crackers and keep her with allowance company one more time in Thursday’s $60,500 main event, carded at a mile on the grass.

Absolute Crackers has won two of her three starts since coming to the United States and joining Motion’s powerful stable during the second half of her 3-year-old campaign in 2012. The daughter of Giant’s Causeway was an impressive entry-level allowance winner against older horses making her North American debut at Keeneland in October, before ending the year finishing third, beaten less than a length, in an overnight handicap at Aqueduct one month later.

Absolute Crackers had to steady a couple of times before rallying to a one-length allowance win – after which she galloped out very strongly beyond the wire – when making her local debut Jan. 13.

“I was very impressed with her last race and thought we maybe could have gone to a stakes off that effort,” said Motion who trains Absolute Crackers for Flaxman Holdings Ltd. “I considered running her Saturday in the Suwannee River, but decided to be a little more conservative rather than go that route right now.”

Motion acknowledged that even though Thursday’s main event will be run under allowance conditions, it is still not an easy spot for Absolute Crackers.

“I just glanced at the field and I saw enough to know it’s a pretty competitive race,” Motion said. “But she’s a very classy type of filly, and I think down the road she’ll handle a little more distance as well.”

There also is some pace for the late-striding Absolute Crackers to target Thursday.

“A little pace will help,” Motion said. “But she’s a very straightforward filly to ride, and I don’t think it’s a must in her case.”

Absolute Crackers isn’t the only member of the field nominated to the Suwannee River. Also nominated are stake winners Baffle Me and Alaura Michele.

Baffle Me led through midstretch before finishing third going 1 1/16 miles under similar allowance conditions here last month. Baffle Me led at every call before lasting for a game nose win in an overnight stakes at 1 1/8 miles last fall at Belmont Park.

Alaura Michele won turf stakes each of the last two summers at Saratoga with trainer Bill Mott, but has since been transferred to trainer Dale Romans’s barn. Alaura Michele has not started since finishing 10th after being hung wide in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Valley View in October.

Warm Hugs and Pianist also loom as dangerous contenders in the very competitive midweek feature.

Warm Hugs rallied from far back and very wide to capture her second-level allowance condition in her 2012 finale for Mott. Pianist has not started since setting the pace to midstretch before gradually weakening to finish fourth, 2 1/4 lengths behind Absolute Crackers, in the overnight handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 21.

Stakes winner Filare l’Oro, among the nominees to the 11-furlong The Very One, Eagle Hall, and Hard Mystery complete the field.