07/08/2014 3:09PM

Lulu Le' Mon faces Motion trio in Nick Shuk


The Delaware Park racing office likes to pepper its midweek cards with $50,000 overnight stakes, many of which draw good-sized, evenly matched fields. Thursday’s card is no exception, as the Nick Shuk Memorial, a 7 1/2-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds, has a field of 11, three of whom are trained by Graham Motion.

Two other races on the card worth noting are the fourth race, a maiden race for fillies and mares on the turf in which trainer Kate DeMasi has a well-bred prospect making her career debut, and the seventh, a five-furlong maiden race for 2-year-olds.

The Shuk Memorial principals seem to be Lulu Le’ Mon, trained by Tony Dutrow, and the Motion runners Thunder Strike and Craftsman. Motion also has entered Ride Away in the race.

Nick Shuk Memorial (Race 6)
Post time: 3:30 p.m. Eastern

Key contenders

Lulu Le’ Mon
◗ A stylish maiden winner at Laurel last September, won his 2014 debut for Dutrow in determined fashion May 26. He has been given plenty of time to get over that effort, and Dutrow has been fine-tuning him over at Fair Hill. He enters off two bullet half-miles, one over dirt and one over synthetic.

Thunder Strike
◗ Racing in Britain, he won his first three races last year at 2 while making eight starts in total. He has run twice for Motion in the United States this year, and though he has been even-paced in both races – one at 5 1/2 furlongs and most recently at a mile – there may very well be better to come from him.
◗ He has been given four works over the Fair Hill synthetic surface since finishing third in the James Murphy Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day – three at five furlongs and one at six furlongs.

◗ The Irish import will be making his first start for Motion after racing four times for the West Coast-based Simon Callaghan. He tired to finish last in the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs on Derby Day in his most recent start. This will be his easiest U.S. assignment.
◗ He has good speed and will have to be caught to be beaten.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 7 Craftsman (3-1 morning line). Trainer Graham Motion is 13 for 53 (25 percent win rate) with a $2.73 ROI with turf starters new to his barn over the past two years.Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Three horses in the lineup will either be making their turf debuts or their connections are hoping thunderstorms force the race to the main track. They are Solemnly Swear (trained by David Jacobson); Condo Closing, who was fourth in the Oh Say Stakes last Saturday for trainer Mac Robertson; and Joint Custody, who won an off-the-turf race last time out for trainer John Robb.

Race 4
Post time
: 2:36 p.m. Eastern
Maiden special weight (1 1/16 miles on turf)

Well-bred first-timer
Beautiful Cat, 3, makes her debut for DeMasi in a wide-open turf maiden race. By Kitten’s Joy out of Iteration, she is a full sister to Belmont Gold Cup winner Charming Kitten, an earner of $716,000, and Marine Stakes winner Queen’splatekitten, who earned $387,000.

Race 7
Post time
: 3:57 p.m. Eastern
Maiden special weight (Five furlongs)

2-year-old first-timers
◗ Impromptu (owner Stonestreet Stables, trainer Cathal Lynch): He is out of Magical Flash, who has produced six foals who have won more than $200,000.

◗ Malibu Park (Brereton Jones, Larry Jones): He is a half-brother to Divine Park, a 2004 foal who won the Met Mile, Westchester, and Withers while earning $612,000.

◗ Cleveland Sound (West Point Thoroughbreds, Motion): He is a half-brother to Citizen Advocate, a three-times stakes winner of $327,000.