has won himself out nearly three times over since he was purchased for $100,000 at the Barretts 2-year-olds in training sale in May of 2012.
On Saturday, the chestnut son of Scat Daddy will try something new when he runs on conventional dirt for the first time in the Grade II, $200,000 Strub Stakes exclusively for 4-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles.
“He’s coming back a little bit quick off his last race, but it’s one of our last chances to run him in a graded race that’s strictly for 4-year-olds,” trainer Paddy Gallagher said of the Kentucky-bred colt, who has earned $279,000, mainly through victories in the Grade III El Camino Real Derby almost a year ago at Golden Gate Fields, and the Grade II La Jolla Handicap at Del Mar last August.
“We thought about trying him on the dirt, so we decided to enter and take a look,” Gallagher said.
Dice Flavor, owned by Oda Racing Stable (Noba Oda) and US Equine (Takashi Toriumi), made up more than nine lengths to finish fifth, beaten less than a length, in the Grade II Sir Beaufort Stakes at one mile on turf Dec. 26, so he would be coming back in three weeks.
A stone closer in all but one of his 12 career starts, Dice Flavor has raced eight times on grass, winning twice, and four times on synthetic, winning once.
“It’s a bit of a longshot,” Gallagher said of running in the Strub, “but like I said, it’s his first time on dirt; we wanted to see how he handles it and if it gives us options down the road.”
The field for the Strub: Dice Flavor, Jose Valdivia Jr., 15-1; Rookie Sensation, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Shakin It Up, Mike Smith, 7-2; Zeewat, Rafael Bejarano, 4-1; Govenor Charlie, Martin Garcia, 4-1; Hear the Ghost, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Heir of Storm, Joe Talamo, 4-1; and Say Ow, Tyler Baze, 20-1.