The main goal for 3-year-old sprinters at Monmouth is the $200,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) on, July 4, and this Sunday’s $100,000 Rumson Stakes is a key stepping stone to that event.
The six-furlong Rumson drew a field of six up-and-coming runners, including Thomas J. Carey’s Nathan’s HQ, who is unbeaten in two career starts.
The bay colt by Yonaguska - Chalonnaise, by French Deputy, broke his maiden at first asking last October at Delaware Park, and won his first allowance level race at Gulfstream Park on March 19. With trainer Clyde (The Glide) Martin in the irons, Nathan’s HQ looked like the real deal both times.
At the beginning of May, the colt was turned over to Steve Klesaris to train, and has been drilling at Klesaris’s Fair Hill, Md., headquarters for a month now. His last work at Fair Hill was an eye-catching half-mile in :47 2/5 on May 30.
“Clyde did a great job with him, and I’m just picking up where he left off,” Klesaris said. “He was in great shape when I got him, and he’s been breezing well for me.
“But the Monmouth race will be a big test for him, the acid test,” Klesaris said. “We have to see if he can handle the step up to play with the big boys. There are a couple in there who will test him, that’s for sure.”
Jose Valdivia Jr. will handle Nathan’s HQ, who goes from Post 5.
The lightly raced colt will be meeting some stakes-seasoned rivals in the Rumson, including Enumerate, who was second by a neck in the NATC Futurity at Monmouth last year, and Cool Bullet, who won the Sugar Bowl Stakes at the Fair Grounds in December and the Hansel Stakes at Turfway Park in March.