07/26/2013 3:25PM

Monmouth Park: Hudson Steele well-spotted in Oceanport Stakes


When he’s not running in Grade 1 company, Hudson Steele is tough to beat. Going back to the summer of 2010, Hudson Steele has five wins and a neck loss in six starts outside of Grade 1 competition.

Sunday, Hudson Steele is scheduled to meet 10 rivals in the Grade 3, $150,000 Oceanport Stakes run at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Monmouth Park.

Hudson Steele, winner of the 2010 Jersey Derby, came off an 11-month layoff last month to win the Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs by a neck. Todd Pletcher, who trains Hudson Steele for RR Partners, said the Grade 2 Fourstardave at Saratoga on Aug. 10 was coming up too difficult, so he decided on the Oceanport.

“We just felt like this is a good opportunity for him,” said Pletcher, who has John Velazquez to ride from post 8. “He had a good comeback race, trained well since. Generally, when he shows up he runs well.”

Hudson Steele, who won the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico in 2012, gets in with 116 pounds, seven fewer than starting highweight Swift Warrior.

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Swift Warrior, trained by John Terranova, won a pair of Grade 3 stakes to begin the year before running seventh in the Dixie at Pimlico and third, beaten less than a length, in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup on June 22.

“He’s trained wonderful,” said Terranova, who has Gary Stevens to ride from post 5. “Given a good trip, he usually fires. Other than giving up a few pounds I think we’re solid in here. I’m expecting a big effort.”

Howe Great won last year’s Jersey Derby and comes off a second in the Grade 3 Poker at Belmont last out.

Change of Command, third to Hudson Steele in the Da Hoss, came back to win the Elkwood and is back in this field. Tune Me In upset last year’s Oceanport at 25-1.

Silver Max, Glass Art, Hobbs, Decisive Moment, Two Notch Road, and General Logan complete the field.