07/18/2013 3:31PM

Woodbine: Hotep looks to end skid in Nijinsky

Michael Burns
Hotep will try to end an eight-race losing streak Sunday in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes.

There was little distance between the first four finishers in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes here June 23 as Riding the River scored by a head over Valentino Beauty, with Hotep a neck back in third and So Long George another neck back in the one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds and up.

On Sunday, all four will return and will get another furlong to cover on turf in the Grade 2, $200,000 Nijinsky Stakes.

Hotep, a 6-year-old homebred who races for Sam-Son Farm and is trained by Malcolm Pierce, is one who seems certain to benefit from the extra yardage.

“I think this is the perfect distance,” said Pierce, who sent out Hotep to finish a closing second behind Riding the River in last year’s running of the Nijinsky.

Hotep will be making his ninth start since he last visited the winner’s circle while competing under allowance terms in a one-mile turf race here in June 2012.

“He’s doing good,” Pierce said. “He had a good work here last Sunday.”

That move was a five-furlong breeze in 1:01 on the training track’s turf course under Jesse Campbell, who will ride Hotep in a race for the first time in the Nijinsky.

“Jesse quite liked him,” Pierce said.

Completing the Nijinsky lineup will be Pender Harbour, ninth, but beaten just 3 1/4 lengths, when making his 2013 debut in the King Edward; Grand Arch and Hampstead Heath, coming off recent victories under allowance terms; the veteran Pool Play, who is winless in nine career turf starts; Classic Bryce, who finished second behind Grand Arch last time out; and outsider Artic Fern.