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Breeders' Cup 2017

Csaba Set for Another Turf Try Saturday

Bruce Hollander and Cary Shapoff’s Csaba has won seven stakes and more than $500,000 during a career in which he has had the distinction of being a rare offspring of Kitten’s Joy that didn’t relish the footing on turf.           

Kitten’s Joy was not only the leading grass stallion of 2013, he ranked as the No. 1 stallion in the country overall due mainly to his progeny’s dominance on turf.  Csaba, though, hasn’t shown the same affinity for grass racing as his sire’s other offspring.           

Winless in three starts on grass during his eventful 27-race career, Csaba was entered for one more test on turf in Saturday’s eighth race over the Gulfstream turf course.           

“After a little break from the races, and with nothing else for him for him right now on the dirt, we thought this would be a good opportunity to try him on the grass,” trainer Phil Gleaves said. “We’ll run him either way, if it rains and the race is taken off the grass, but we’d actually like it to remain on grass to find out how he fits with these horses on turf.”           

Csaba, who has won the 2013 Hal’s Hope (G3) and Harlan’s Holiday over Gulfstream’s main track, ran off the board in the 2012 Dania Beach in his first start on turf before finishing sixth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on dirt. Back on turf, Csaba finished third in the Palm Beach (G3) behind Howe Great and Dullahan. He returned to dirt and became a stakes winner before one last shot at grass in an overnight stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 30, 2012, when he finished ninth.           

“The Palm Beach was a good race. It was the best of the races that we tried him on grass. The other two were not so good, quite frankly,” Gleaves said.  “But that race was enough to make us want to try him again. We have nothing to lose. If he doesn’t run well, we’ll put the discussion to bed. If he does run well, it opens up a whole new set of opportunities for us.”           

Csaba figures to be sternly tested in his return to turf in the 1 1/16-mile allowance against the likes of Newsdad, War Dancer and four other graded-stakes winners. Lochte, the recent winner of the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) could be added to the mix should he escape the also-eligible list.      

 

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