On the morning after John Shirreffs sent out
Mentor Cane to a five-length maiden win at
Belmont Park, the trainer expressed satisfaction with the 3-year-old colt’s development since his arrival in
Mentor Cane competed twice in Southern California last December,
finishing second to eventual graded stakes winner Flashback by 3 ½
lengths at Betfair Hollywood Park
and a distant third at Santa Anita after veering in badly at the start.
“The first time out he ran impressively, just got beat,” said
Shirreffs. “The second time was a wet-fast track and he was a little
green. He was a little immature, and
as soon as the gate opened he heard the sound of the horses’ feet, and
he bolted to the rail and he ran through the bit and was a little out of
control. We had to take our time with him, stand him in the gate, and
teach him to relax and be a bit ratable.”
Shirreffs gave Mentor Cane time off following his second start
and placed the colt with his New York string when he came East in April.
Mentor Cane returned to the worktab
in May and yesterday delivered an eye-catching performance when he
dueled for the lead, put away his opponent before the three-eighths
pole, and ran away to a clear victory under Edgar Prado’s hand ride.
While Shirreffs has no set plans for Mentor Cane, the trainer
believes the Jerry and Ann Moss homebred is capable of competing in
stakes. The son of Mizzen Mast will
make his next start at Saratoga Race Course, the trainer said.
“Of course we want to go a little longer with him,” said Moss.
“We want to try some of the 3-year-old stakes before the end of the
year. It just depends on how quickly
he comes around and what distance we run him next time.”
Mentor Cane was one of two impressive maiden winners on
Saturday. Earlier on the card, Touchofstarquality, a 3-year-old
Mineshaft colt, overcame a slow start to debut
a 1 ¼-length winner for trainer Michelle Nevin and owner Jay Em Ess