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Hard to Name Shows Promise for Servis

Gulfstream Park
Photo: MEC

Main Line Racing Stables’ 2-year-old Hard to Name has shown plenty of promise for trainer John Servis in four career starts, all sprinting on dirt. But the colt who won his last two starts at Parx will be asked to take his game to another level when stretching out to two turns on turf for Saturday’s $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

“He’s a big rangy colt and I think he’ll handle the distance just fine,” said Servis Thursday morning from Palm Meadows where he has a small string this winter along with his usual division campaigning at Parx in Philadelphia.

“We’ve had a chance to work him on turf since we got here and he appeared to handle that just fine. We chose this race mainly because of the timing and the two-turn mile distance rather than because it was on turf.” Hard to Name breezed five furlongs on turf in 1:01 on Nov. 30 and came back to post a ‘bullet’ half-mile on the main track in 47 2/5 flat on Dec. 8.

Hard to Name is a son of Hard Spun purchased for $75,000 at the Keeneland April 2-year-old sales and broke his maiden going seven furlongs by 4 ½ lengths on Sept. 22 in his third start and came back for a 1 ¼ lengths allowance score at 6 ½ furlongs last out on Oct. 21.

Servis is best known for guiding the career of 2004 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1) hero Smarty Jones. An additional story line in Saturday’s Dania Beach Stakes will be that Hard to Name’s rivals include Itsmyluckyday, a colt co-owned by his sister Laurie Plesa and trained by his brother-in-law Eddie Plesa, Jr.

“We’ve run against each other a couple of times,” recalls Servis. “But this might be the first time in a stakes.”

Jockey Joe Bravo rides Hard to Name for the first time Saturday.



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