With a trio of stakes victories, Howe Great already
has turned his first hat trick, but trainer H. Graham Motion is hopeful
the 3-year-old Team Valor colt will light the lamp for his first Grade
1 in tomorrow’s Jamaica Handicap.
The 1 1/8-mile turf race will be Howe Great’s second
Grade 1 appearance; in the spring, he finished fifth behind Jamaica
favorite Dullahan in the Blue Grass over the synthetic surface at
Keeneland. That left him with insufficient earnings to make the
Kentucky Derby, and he has raced exclusively on turf since, compiling a
1-2-1 record in four starts, including a second-place finish in the
Grade 2 Del Mar Derby last time out.
In that race, Howe Great was three-quarters of a length
behind the front-running My Best Brother, who was unpressured
throughout the 1 1/8-mile turf race.
“No one went with the winner,” said Motion. “I thought our horse ran a great race.”
The trainer added that Howe Great – who is named after hockey great Gordie Howe –
is coming into the Jamaica as well as or better than any of his races.
“He’s maturing, and he has been training very well for
the Jamaica,” said Motion of Howe Great, who is 5-3-1 from 10 career
starts. “He’s really a lovely colt, you can do anything with him, and
he has been so consistent. I think he’s a Grade 1-calibre horse and I
hope he gets a chance to prove it.”