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.