08/15/2012 3:00PM

Saratoga: Moment in Dixie gets shot to prove herself in Summer Guest

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Tom Keyser
Majestic Hussar, winner of a maiden sprint on Aug. 11, will run next in the Sept. 3 Hopeful.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jimmy Toner’s search for his next big horse officially began Tuesday when his multiple Grade 1-winning mare Winter Memories left Saratoga, headed for retirement at Darby Dan Farm in Lexington, Ky.

On Friday, Toner sends out the promising 3-year-old filly Moment in Dixie in the $100,000 Summer Guest Stakes at Saratoga. The Summer Guest, run at 1 1/8 miles, is for fillies who have yet to win a stakes – and who don’t want to leap into the deep end of the pool in Saturday’s Grade 1 Alabama.

While no one will be able to replace Winter Memories, Toner has high hopes for Moment in Dixie, who won her first two starts before finishing a troubled second in the Serena’s Song Stakes at Monmouth Park on July 15.

“She’s not in the same league as Winter Memories, but we’ll give her a shot and bring her along,” Toner said. “I do think she’s a nice filly.”

After winning her first two starts on the front end, Moment in Dixie stumbled badly at the start of the Serena’s Song, was last about a dozen lengths off the early pace before making a belated rally to finish second, 4 3/4 lengths behind Morrow Cove.

“She went down to her knees at the break,” Toner said. “She had never been off the lead or anything, dirt hit her in face … I thought she was going to be eased. [Elvis Trujillo] let her get herself together and she had to go wide, but she ran a super race.”

Moment in Dixie, a daughter of Dixieland Band, has come back with three works at Saratoga, including a five-furlong move in 1:01, the best of 11 at the distance on Sunday.

“I think she’s the real deal,” Toner said. “I had her mother who was a quality filly, big strong, good-looking filly.”

Ciao Bella, a Giant’s Causeway filly, has won both of her first two starts impressively and has also come back with a bullet work for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Others entered include Peace Preserver, Lady Cohiba, Harbor Mist, Lemon Splendor, and Ainsley.

The Summer Guest goes as race 2 on the 10-race card.

Majestic Hussar headed to Hopeful

Majestic Hussar, who won his debut by 6 1/4 lengths here in the slop on Saturday, will be pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 3, trainer Eddie Kenneally said.

Majestic Hussar, a son of 2007 Hopeful winner Majestic Warrior, covered six furlongs in 1:11.30 and earned a 71 Beyer Speed Figure for the performance. He is a half-brother to Tiz Sardonic Joe, who won earlier in the meet.

“We loved him all along. He trained really well. All his works were good. He’s got a lot of ability and class,” Kenneally said. “We liked him first time out and he won convincingly. If everything goes well between now and then, [the Hopeful] is where he’s going to run.”

Battle Hardened, who won the Sam F. Davis earlier this year for Kenneally, is headed for the turf for his next start. Battle Hardened worked four furlongs in 47.15 seconds over the Oklahoma turf course on Wednesday, his second sharp breeze in a week over that course.

Following the Sam F. Davis, Battle Hardened finished sixth in the Tampa Bay Derby. After a four-month layoff, Battle Hardened finished seventh in a seven-furlong allowance race.

“He worked good again today. Nice horse. He just didn’t run very well first race back off a layoff, but that was a sprint,” Kenneally said. “We’ll stretch him out and run him on the grass and go from there.”

Kenneally reported that Jamaican Smoke, runner-up to Emma’s Encore in the Grade 3 Victory Ride at Belmont, has been sent home to Glencrest Farm for the remainder of her 3-year-old season. She will be brought back to the races next year, Kenneally said.