08/29/2014 4:54PM

Large fields for Parx Labor Day stakes


The four Labor Day Monday stakes at Parx drew large, deep fields that should make them highly appealing to horseplayers.

The stakes, which offer a combined $1 million in purses, are carded as races 8-11 and will be run between 3:30 and 5:15 p.m. Eastern. First post Monday will be 12:25 p.m., and there will be a cooler-bag giveaway to recognize the 10th anniversary of Smarty Jones’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins.

The $200,000 Turf Amazon, a five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares, starts the sequence and drew a field of 12. It will be followed by the Grade 3, $200,000 Greenwood Cup at 1 1/2 miles (field of 10); the Grade 3, $300,000 Smarty Jones for 3-year-olds at a mile and 70 yards (10 horses); and the $300,000 Turf Monster Handicap, a five-furlong turf sprint that drew a field of 11.

Turf Amazon

The top players, and there are many, are Jewel of a Cat, who was narrowly beaten in the Caress Stakes at Saratoga last time out for trainer Benny Perkins Jr.; Joya Real, a winner of 4 of her last 5, including the Fort Monmouth Stakes in her most recent start; Sweet Cassiopeia, who will be switching back to turf after winning main-track stakes in 2 of her last 3 starts; and the quick Quality Lass, a winner of 2 of her last 3.

Jewel of a Cat drew post 11 and will be ridden by Paco Lopez.

Greenwood Cup

The favorites in the 1 1/2-mile main-track marathon will be Abraham, who is 2 for 3 since moving to the barn of Bill Mott, and Micromanage, who will be shortening up from a 1 3/4-mile win for Todd Pletcher. Micromanage is cross-entered in the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga, so we will know Saturday if he is coming to Parx.

Abraham, with Junior Alvarado up, has drawn post 3 and Micromanage post 7. Joe Bravo is named to ride.

A sleeper in the field is Lideris, whom trainer Peter Miller has shipped in from California. Lideris has made 19 of his 21 career starts in Peru. His two U.S. starts this summer have not been good.

Miller, consistently successful in Southern California, said this week he is pleased with the way Lideris is coming along and expects improvement Monday.

“He’s a Grade 1 winner in South America,” Miller said. “He won the Latino America in Peru. It’s a half-million-dollar race and attracts the best horses from all of the countries in South America. He’s getting acclimated and finding his way. He’s got a lot of talent.”

Lideris drew the outside post in the 10-horse field and will carry the co-highweight of 122 pounds. Martin Pedroza will ride.

Smarty Jones

Albano is the likely favorite based on his win in the Grade 3 Pegasus and second-place finish behind Bayern in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park this summer for trainer Larry Jones. But he will have to deal with Protonico, who was beaten only a head when third in the Curlin Stakes at Saratoga.

Protonico was paid the ultimate compliment when Curlin winner V. E. Day came back to win the Travers last weekend. Trainer Pletcher will add blinkers to Protonico’s equipment Monday.

Albano drew post 3 with jockey Kerwin Clark, and Protonico post 8 with Bravo.

Turf Monster

The Turf Monster is carded as the stakes finale, and that may be because it offers the best matchup on the card.

The Turf Monster will rematch Ben’s Cat, Tightend Touchdown, Bold Thunder, and Stormofthecentury, the first-, second-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishers from the Grade 3 Parx Dash on July 12. A new face in the crowd is Private Zone, the winner of last year’s Grade 1 Vosburgh, who will be making his first start in nine months for California horseman Doug O’Neill. Private Zone has been burning up the work tab out West preparing for his comeback.

Ben’s Cat won this race in 2011 and 2012. Stormofthecentury won it last year.