07/19/2012 3:34PM

Monmouth Park: Howe Great looks tough to beat in Jersey Derby

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Courtney Stafford
Howe Great has never run poorly on grass.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Graham Motion will be well represented in the two Mid-Atlantic turf derbys for 3-year-olds on Saturday.

Motion sends out Lucky Chappy in the $600,000 Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs and Howe Great in the $60,000 Jersey Derby.

While both are strong contenders in their respective races, Howe Great looks like a standout in the feature event at Monmouth Park.

Howe Great has never run a poor race on grass.

“He’s very consistent,” Motion said. “A couple of races in Kentucky, he had lousy post positions, and that might have cost him a little bit. Again, he still didn’t run bad races in defeat. He’s a very consistent, straightforward horse.”

Howe Great also has a wealth of graded stakes experience, a substantial class advantage over six rivals in the 1 1/16-mile Jersey Derby.

And he is coming off one of his best efforts in the Grade 3 Hill Prince at Belmont Park.

Howe Great took an immediate liking to the turf, sweeping three straight races at Gulfstream Park over the winter, including the Grade  3 Palm Beach.

He then switched to the synthetic surface at Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes and suffered his only career out-of-the-money finish.

Back on grass for the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill Downs, Howe Great rallied for third after drawing outside in a 13-horse field.

Then it was on to Belmont for the Hill Prince where Howe Great looked like a winner when he struck the front in deep stretch.

Only an amazing surge by Summer Front, hopelessly bottled up on the hedge until the last possible second, snatched away the victory.

“Summer Front had every chance to get beat and he still got by us,” Motion said. “I thought our horse ran a super race. We just got outrun that day. I was very pleased with how he ran.”

Summer Front, now 4 for 4 on the turf, is entered against Lucky Chappy in the Virginia Derby.

And Howe Great heads to Monmouth for a golden opportunity to pick up his first win since the Palm Beach in March.

“We wanted to get him in a race where he would look like the favorite on paper,” Motion said. “That’s what we’ve done, hopefully.”

Kid Sidney, Fire Alarm, Scat About, Broxbourne, Crafty Unicorn, and Purest Form complete the field.

Raconteur was entered for the main track only.