Making his first start outside Florida
in Friday’s Grade 2 Hall of Fame is Csaba (prounounced “CHA-bah”), a Kitten’s Joy colt named
after Hungarian artist Csaba Markus.
Trained by Phil Gleaves for Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff, Csaba
enters Friday’s race off an 8 ¼-length victory July 21 in the El Kaiser
on the main track at Calder Race Course. That followed a second-place finish in
the inaugural Mambo Meister on May 25, in which he was disqualified to third in
the off-the-turf race.
“It would have been great to win the first running of the Mambo Meister,”
said Gleaves, who trained the multiple graded stakes winner. “He got into
a lot of trouble in the race, but he was closing fast and came up just short
behind Empire Builder.”
Although Csaba has been entered in eight grass races, he’s only
gotten to run in two, with the other six coming off the turf. In the Grade 3
Palm Beach on March 11 at Gulfstream Park, he was third to Howe Great and
Dullahan, and in the Dania Beach in December he was fifth, beaten 2 ½ lengths,
after leading to the sixteenth pole.
“You would think that with his pedigree – Kitten’s
Joy out of a War Chant mare – it screams turf, so we’re going to
give him a shot again on the grass,” said Gleaves. “In the Palm Beach, he was behind
two very nice horses, which made us think he can run with these horses.”
Csaba, who was sixth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth behind Union Rags
after stumbling badly at the start, had also been under consideration for last
month’s Grade 2 Jim Dandy and the Curlin, said Gleaves.
“He’s a real nice hors; we’ve always thought highly
of him,” he said. “Unfortunately, he stumbled at the start of the
Fountain of Youth, so we were no wiser after the race than before. Had his last
race [El Kaiser] not filled, we would probably have run him here on the dirt.
He can run on either surface.”
Julien Leparoux will have the mount, said Gleaves.