07/05/2012 2:37PM

Monmouth: Slim Shadey seeks first Grade 1 win in United Nations

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Benoit & Associates
Slim Shadey will try to give 29-year-old California-based trainer Simon Callaghan his first Grade 1 win outside his home state in the United Nations.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Slim Shadey, a rising force in the turf ranks, and Simon Callaghan, his youthful trainer, both look for a breakthrough win on Saturday in the $500,000 United Nations Stakes.

The U.N. tops the second biggest day of the year at Monmouth Park. The U.N. and the $1 million Haskell Invitational are the meet’s two Grade 1 stakes.

[MONMOUTH PARK: Get PPs and watch Saturday’s full card live]

In addition to Slim Shadey, the 1 3/8-mile U.N. drew six other runners: Turbo Compressor, the front-running victor in the Colonial Turf Cup; the 2011 Blue Grass winner Brilliant Speed; distance specialist Eldaafer, who captured the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon; Air Support; Al Khali; and Freud’s Honour.

The 12-race card also features the Grade 2, $200,000 Monmouth Cup where Flat Out, one of last season’s handicap stars, debuts for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.

In addition to Monmouth’s second highest purse, the U.N. carries an added incentive as a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In stakes. The victor earns an automatic berth in the B.C. Turf.

For Slim Shadey, this is an opportunity to nail down his first Grade 1 victory following seconds in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and the Charlie Whittingham Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park.

And for Callaghan, only 29, the U.N. would be his first Grade 1 win outside California.

“We’ve been second in a couple of these races when we’ve shipped,” Callaghan said. “To win a Grade 1 outside California would be very beneficial for my career. If we can train winners across America, it would be a help.”

Slim Shadey might be the horse to take him there.

Callaghan trained horses for Phil Cunningham, Slim Shadey’s owner and breeder, in England before relocating to Southern California in 2009.

Callaghan, who has trained Belle Royale and Dubawi Heights to Grade 1 wins, suggested Slim Shadey would also benefit from a shift to the U.S.

“We spotted this horse and suggested he was the kind of horse you should bring over to the States,” Callaghan said. “Thankfully, he did.”

After failing to hit the board in seven European races last season, Slim Shadey has two wins and a trio of seconds in six U.S. starts. He was beaten only one length by champion Acclamation last time out in the Whittingham.

“He ran a very good race,” Callaghan said. “Acclamation is a very proven horse at the Group 1 level. I think it’s nothing to be ashamed of to finish second to a horse of that caliber.

“With every run he’s had here, this horse seems to have improved. He’s stepped up for every race. Let’s hope he does the same. He seems to be in great form.”

Turbo Compressor is certainly in top form with two wins in the three starts since trainer Todd Pletcher put him on turf.

“It was a very good race last time out,” Pletcher said of the Colonial Turf Cup on June 16. “We’re bringing him back on a little short rest but he seems to be coming up to it very well.”