06/23/2015 12:36PM

Souper Colossal to stretch out in Long Branch

Barbara D. Livingston
Souper Colossal will return to dirt after making his first two starts this year on turf.

Souper Colossal was the best 2-year-old at Monmouth Park last summer, running off three straight victories, including the Sapling and off-the-turf Tyro Stakes. He has made only two starts at 3, both in turf sprints, but trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. is now ready to return him to the main track and stretch him out in the $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth on July 11.

Plesa thought highly enough of Souper Colossal last year to send him to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Souper Colossal stumbled at the start, got caught up in a fast pace, and then tired to finish seventh.

Souper Colossal started this season on a strong note by winning the Texas Glitter Stakes, a five-furlong turf sprint at Gulfstream Park in February. He was entered to run in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream at the end of that month, but the card was canceled due to heavy rains.

Plesa opted for the Tampa Bay Derby over the rescheduled Swale but scratched Souper Colossal on Thursday of race week after the War Front colt came down with a temperature.

Souper Colossal made his comeback at Monmouth on June 14, finishing second to longshot Fast Flying Rumor in the $56,000 Select Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on turf.

“Some people were down on his performance in that race, but I was very pleased with how he ran,” Plesa said. “The turf sprint was just a tool to get to the Long Branch. I didn’t have anywhere else to run him.”

Souper Colossal, a $350,000 yearling purchase by Live Oak Plantation at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga sale, is very quick but carried his speed a mile to win the Sapling. It will be interesting to see how he handles the stretch-out to 1 1/6 miles in the Long Branch.

“I think you’ll see what he has in the Long Branch,” Plesa said.

Plesa was pleased with Mr. Jordan’s victory in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes on Sunday, which earned the son of Kantharos an automatic invitation to the Haskell Invitational.

“It’s a graded race, which is certainly important for his stallion, whom I’m a big supporter of,” Plesa said of the Pegasus.

Mr. Jordan is from Kantharos’s first crop and is his first graded stakes winner. Kantharos, 7, is a son of Lion Heart who was perfect in three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen in 2010, winning a maiden race and the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs and the Saratoga Special. Kantharos stood for $5,000 this season at Ocala Stud Farm.

Plesa said the Haskell is a possibility for Mr. Jordan, who races for Leon Ellman, David Melin, and Plesa’s wife, Laurie

“The owners are sportsmen,” he said. “We’ll discuss our options.”