08/01/2012 3:35PM

Saratoga: Harrods Creek taking a drop in John's Call

Barbara D. Livingston
Harrods Creek ran fourth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap in April, then sixth in the Stars and Stripes at Arlington.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – After competing in six consecutive graded stakes, Harrods Creek seeks – and appears to have found – some class relief in Friday’s $100,000 John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga.

[Complete coverage of racing at Saratoga: News, PPs, and video]

The John’s Call, a 1 5/8-mile turf race, is not a graded event and has drawn a modest field of six. The ability to run a distance of ground is imperative and Harrods Creek won a second-level allowance race at 1 1/2 miles at Keeneland last fall. Since then, however, Harrods Creek has dropped six consecutive races – all graded events – though he has finished second or third in three of them. In April, he finished third in the Grade 2 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, run at 1 3/4 miles at Santa Anita.

“He had a great trip, opened up six lengths turning for home, and got beat,” Mott said. “He ran a good race.”

Harrods Creek finished fourth in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap in April before running a dull sixth in the Stars and Stripes at Arlington.

“The race in Chicago he was kind of dull. I’m not sure why,” Mott said.

Harrods Creek’s speed should help him in a field that does not appear to have any early lick.

Ballet Boy and Game Ball are the only two horses to have won this year. Ballet Boy did it in a steeplechase race. Game Ball won two starter allowance races at Gulfstream.

Ballet Boy would be a fitting winner of the John’s Call if only because his trainer, Tom Voss, trained John’s Call, the Grade 1 winner for whom this race is named.

Hailstone hasn’t won since Feb. 20, 2011, but his trainer, Robert Ribaudo, said he has been able to do more in the morning with the horse leading up to this race than most of his previous races.

“Whether that’s good or bad we’ll find out,” Ribaudo said.

Tahoe Lake finished third in the Grade 1 Man o’ War at Belmont on July 14. Inscrutable is winless in three North American starts and is on his third U.S.-based trainer.