08/11/2010 4:52PM

Nacho Friend has Breen puzzled


Kelly Breen was perplexed by Nacho Friend’s effort Saturday in the West Virginia Derby.

Getting third in a $750,000 race isn’t all bad. But then, Breen expected much more following Nacho Friend’s second-place finish, and career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 101, behind Trappe Shot in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Nacho Friend was never a factor at Mountaineer Park, winding up 8 1/2 lengths behind 1-2 finishers Concord Point and Exhi.

While Nacho Friend has shown flashes of talent, the colt failed to fire in his two extended road trips to New Mexico for the Sunland Park Derby and to West Virginia.

Therein may lie a clue.

“Third was okay for the money,” Breen said. “I don’t know that he really ran his race. Between this race and the Sunland Park Derby, I don’t know if he travels as well as we’d like him to. In some of those big races, he ran subpar to what we think he is. I know he has it in him, and I thought he would run a better race. I don’t know if it’s a shipping thing or a track thing. I really can’t pinpoint it.”

The trip in the West Virginia Derby was clean with Joe Bravo aboard.

“To watch the race closely, Joe never really had a lot of horse down the backstretch,” Breen said. “He grinded it out for third.”

Breen doesn’t know where Nacho Friend, still eligible for a second-level allowance, will run next.

Out of Respect moves up a notch

Out of Respect proved he belonged with the top 3-year-old sprinters when he grudgingly finished second to Discreetly Mine in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes on Independence Day.

He confirmed that status when he battled and subdued Comedero in the Select Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth.

Comedero had won 8 of 9 coming into the Select, but Out of Respect showed no deference on his home track. With Paco Lopez aboard, Out of Respect took it right to Comedero from the start. In what was essentially a two-horse contest run at a blazing clip, Out of Respect prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths for his fourth win in seven starts.

“The bottom line is: He took Discreetly Mine all the way to the wire on a dead rail,” said trainer Scott Volk. “Then when Discreetly Mine won the Amsterdam [at Saratoga], it was obvious I had a pretty good horse. The win on Sunday confirmed that. He’s a horse that is starting to come around. He is getting better and better with every start.”

The next start will likely be the Gallant Bob Handicap for 3-year-olds at six furlongs on Oct. 9 at Philadelphia Park.

Oaks highlights weekend

The Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on Saturday is the major event of the weekend at Monmouth.

The Oaks drew a field of six for the 1 1/16 miles contest, including and C C’s Pal, the 1-2 finishers in the Serena’s Song, the Oaks prep.

Patriotic Viva is the only filly in the race without graded stakes experience. Trained by Patrick Biancone, she is 2-2-0 in 5 races.

No Such Word, trained by Cindy Jones, was fourth to Blind Luck in her latest effort, the Delaware Oaks. She already owns a graded victory, the Honeybee at Oaklawn Park in March.

Seeking The Title and Absinthe Minded both found Devil Mar Care too tough in the Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga.

Seeking the Title was fifth in the follow-up to her win in the Iowa Oaks. Absinthe Minded was sixth for Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

Worship the Moon completes the field.