Nordic Truce, last seen yielding grudgingly to Krypton in the Grade 3
Hill Prince at Belmont Park on June 4, will likely return to the races next
Friday in the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes, trainer
Christophe Clement said Thursday.
The 3-year-old son of Yes It’s
True worked a half-mile over the Oklahoma
turf course on Wednesday in 50.65.
“He was a touch unlucky in the
Hill Prince,” Clement said. “He worked well yesterday and I’m not sure
we’ll work him back before the race, we’ll see.”
Prior to his defeat in the Hill
Prince, Nordic Truce followed his maiden victory with two straight stakes wins,
including the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland on April 2.
Also among those being pointed to
the $150,000 Hall of Fame is Earle Mack’s Grand Rapport, last-to-first
winner in his turf debut at Monmouth
Park a month ago.
It was the first start this year
for the 3-year-old gelded son of Grand Reward, who was given 7 ½ months off
over the winter and spring after being injured.
“He’s a big, good-looking horse
with a tremendous turf family,” said trainer Gary Contessa. “When we brought
him back he was about 70 percent, which is exactly what I wanted. He came from
dead-last to win at 1 1/8th miles, which is perfect, and earned an 8
on the Ragozin sheets.”
Last year, Grand Rapport broke his
maiden in an off-the-turf event going seven furlongs at Saratoga
on August 23, and then ran in the Futurity at Belmont Park
and the Remsen at Aqueduct, both Grade 2 events in which he finished seventh
and sixth, respectively.
“It’s nice when you have an owner
like Earle Mack, who is so patient,” said the trainer. “If I needed another two
months with the horse, he would have been fine with it. We’re excited about
Wertheimer and Frere’s Interactif,
seventh in the 1 ½-mile, Grade 1 Belmont Stakes June 5 and second in the 1 1/8th-mile,
Grade 2 Virginia Derby July 17, will cut back an additional furlong in the Hall
of Fame Stakes.
“We’re backing him up a little,”
said Pletcher. “He’s a versatile colt that runs well at different distances. I
think he’s at his best on the turf, although he’s had decent races on dirt and
pretty good races on synthetic.”