01/09/2013 1:47PM

Santa Anita: Can Motown Men carry his speed in Friday feature?


ARCADIA, Calif. –There may be no stopping Motown Men, the stakes-placed gelding who makes his second start on turf in an optional claimer at Santa Anita on Friday.

Motown Men, 4, has proven to be very fast, often too much for his own good. Frequently, Motown Men has led and been caught late.

In two starts since returning from a 10-month layoff in October, Motown Men was second by a head in an optional claimer for California-breds here Oct. 18 and was last of seven in the Zia Park Derby on Dec. 1 after leading for the first half-mile.

Peter Eurton began training Motown Men when he returned from the layoff and says the gelding can be difficult to restrain.

“He’ll be pretty keen,” Eurton said. “He does get aggressive. You don’t want to grab him and choke him down.”

Friday’s one-mile turf race has drawn a field of seven, including two other quick runners – Kessabatsi, who has 1 win in 28 starts, and Don’t Rock Me, who makes his California debut for trainer Peter Miller after winning two claiming races at Laurel in November.

Motown Men was trained by Doug O’Neill in 2011 and for his first start of 2012. For O’Neill, who bred Motown Men with current owner Mark Gorman, the gelding was second in the California Cup Juvenile in October 2011 and was fourth in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Since the Zia Park race, Motown Men has worked twice in late December and early January, although a half-mile workout in 47.60 seconds on Dec. 29 was not published, Eurton said.

Eurton dismisses the last race in New Mexico as asking too much of Motown Men.

“It was a 23-hour van ride,” he said. “It’s something I won’t be doing anytime soon.

“If he could relax, he’d go farther. He could run in a Cal-bred stakes down the line.”

Unusual Jazz, third in a similar race Dec. 13, could be a factor if the pace is quick. A winner of 5 of 19 starts, Unusual Jazz has not won since April, taking an allowance race on turf at Hollywood Park. Unusual Jazz is entered for a $25,000 claiming price Friday.

“He’s in the right spot,” trainer Steve Knapp said. “He’s set to run a big race.”