Nick Canani has big plans for Called to Serve in 2013. Those plans could hinge on how Called to Serve finishes out 2012.
Following a breakthrough victory in the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap at Aqueduct on Nov. 17, Called to Serve looks to finish his 3-year-old season with another stakes win when he takes on eight opponents in Monday’s $100,000 Broad Brush Stakes at Laurel Park. The Broad Brush, run at 1 1/8 miles, tops a nine-race card that also includes the $100,000 Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, rescheduled from Wednesday when racing was canceled.
Called to Serve came to Canani this fall following a modestly successful campaign for Southern California-based trainer Peter Eurton. Called to Serve, a son of Afleet Alex, finished a close third in both the Grade 2 West Virginia Derby and the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby before moving to Canani.
Called to Serve was beaten a nose in an overnight stakes at Belmont on Oct. 21 in which he had a difficult trip under Daniel Centeno. In the Discovery, Joel Rosario rode Called to Serve and he galloped to a 4 3/4-length victory over the Grade 1 winner Willy Beamin.
That performance immediately had Canani and owner Marc Ferrell thinking about races such as the Grade 1, $500,000 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream on Feb. 9 or the Grade 2, $200,000 Strub Stakes at Santa Anita a week earlier. Ultimately, Canani would like to run Called to Serve in the Santa Anita Handicap on March 2.
“It was very impressive,” Canani said of Called to Serve’s Discovery victory. “He’s finally putting it all together.”
Since the Discovery, Called to Serve has fired two bullet workouts over the Belmont Park training track.
“He couldn’t be doing any better right now so I think he’s going to run super,” said Canani, who has Rosario in from Florida to ride. “There are some hard-knocking horses in there. He’s going to have to run against older, accomplished horses. I think it’s going to be a good test for him.”
Eighttofasttocatch and Hello Lover are two Maryland-bred stalwarts that figure to be the biggest tests for Called to Serve.
On Dec. 1, Eighttofasttocatch beat Hello Lover by 5 1/2 lengths in the Jennings Handicap, his 10th victory in 20 career starts at Laurel. He is 1 for 17 elsewhere.
Eighttofasttocatch won on the front end that day, and is likely to use those tactics again on Monday.
“I think he prefers to be on the front end, but he doesn’t have to be,” trainer Tim Keefe said.
Hello Lover had won three consecutive races at Parx before finishing a late-running second to Eighttofasttocatch in the Jennings. The Robert Reid-trained Hello Lover is 12 for 30 in his career, but does pick up 10 pounds off his last race.
Hello Lover is cross-entered Monday at his home track, Parx, where he is the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the $75,000 Auld Lang Syne at a mile and 70 yards.
Tonto Fontenot, recent allowance winner at Laurel, and Norman Asbjornson, runner-up to San Pablo in the Swatera at Penn National, add to the competitiveness of the Broad Brush. Normal Asbjornson is also cross-entered Monday in Parx’s overnight stakes.
Walkwithapurpose seeks third straight
The posts have changed but the competition basically remains the same in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship, a 7 1/2-furlong race rescheduled from last Wednesday.
Walkwithapurpose seeks her third straight win for Sagamore Farm and trainer Ignacio Correas IV. After a troubled debut in which she finished third at Timonium, Walkwithapurpose has won two straight at Laurel, including a first-level allowance race that produced next out winner Curlamorous.
“This is probably going to be her first real test,” Correas said. “It looks like she’s got talent.”
Walkwithapurpose had post 4 when the race was originally drawn. Monday, she will break from the rail.
“I liked the post I had for Wednesday better than the one I have for Monday, but this filly has tactical speed,” said Correas, who has Jeremy Rose to ride.
Correas also entered Listen Boy, but that filly raced at Laurel on Saturday and will scratch from this spot.
Hot Fun, who had the rail originally, now breaks from the outside. She finished second in a first-level allowance on Nov. 30.