07/19/2017 10:30AM

Motion bringing dynamic duo for Haskell card

Barbara D. Livingston
Irish War Cry (left) is expected to make the Haskell his first start since finishing second in the Belmont Stakes in June.

Trainer Graham Motion holds a strong hand coming into the July 30 Haskell card at Monmouth Park. He is pleased with how Belmont Stakes runner-up Irish War Cry is training for the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational and is considering running Miss Temple City in the Grade 3 Matchmaker.

Irish War Cry has worked three times since his gutsy second in the Belmont. Motion said his first two works were on the easier side but that last Sunday’s six-furlong breeze in 1:14 was a bit more taxing. Motion matched him up in that work with 5-year-old Ascend, winner of the Grade 1 Manhattan on Belmont Stakes Day.

“He laid off Ascend a little last week and then finished with him,” Motion said. “We’ll do something similar this weekend.”

Irish War Cry will be one of the top choices in the $1 million Haskell, along with the Chad Brown tandem of Timeline and Practical Joke. The 1 1/8-mile Haskell also is expected to draw McCraken, Battle of Midway, Girvin, Hence, and Impressive Edge.

:: Saratoga Clocker Report: Get in-depth workout analysis for the 2017 summer meet

Miss Temple City would be making her first start since Royal Ascot in the $100,000 Matchmaker. Miss Temple City finished 13th against males in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes on June 20 while making her first start of the year.

She was unable to get a prep race in before traveling overseas because of a minor training mishap at Palm Meadows and wet course conditions that prompted her scratch from the Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill Downs.

“She didn’t miss much time after Ascot,” Motion said. “The trip didn’t appear to take much out of her.”

:: Like this article? Get access to all premium articles, real-time coverage, special reports, and charts. Unlock access with DRF Plus.

The Matchmaker is attractive to Motion because it will be run at 1 1/8 miles on turf, just as the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf will be Nov. 4 at Del Mar.

“The race would give us a chance to try that,” Motion said of the distance.

Miss Temple City is a three-time Grade 1 winner at a mile. She has raced well at 1 1/8 miles but has yet to win in four tries at the distance. This is the first time the BC Filly and Mare Turf will be run at a distance as short as 1 1/8 miles.

Although the Arlington Million has not been completely ruled out for Ascend, Motion said he will probably start next in the Grade 2 Bowling Green on July 29 at Saratoga. If things go well, he could then return in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer there Aug. 26.

Can’thelpbelieving, who recently finished second, beaten a head, in the Grade 1 United Nations, may race next in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes on July 29 at Woodbine, per Motion.