Race of the Week 2017

She Digs Me Brings Strong Form to Nashua

Despite winning the Tyro Stakes in July at Monmouth Park by two lengths, 2-year-old colt She Digs Me went off at lukewarm odds of 4-1 in his next start at the Jersey Shore track when he ran in the Grade 3 Sapling Stakes.

She Digs Me's stablemate in the Steve Asmussen barn, Voodoo Daddy, was sent off as the even-money favorite that day, based on his sharp maiden score August 17 at Saratoga Race Course. After making the pace, Voodoo Daddy tired in the stretch, and She Digs Me opened up powerfully, pulling away to win easily by 6 ¼ lengths.

Now, She Digs Me returns to the races at Belmont Park on Sunday to run in the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua with a considerably enhanced reputation. The chestnut son of Henny Hughes, owned by Judy and Kirk Robison, has won three straight, including the back-to-back stakes scores, and is the 2-1 favorite on the morning line.

"This horse has always done everything right, and he likes Monmouth," said Asmussen's assistant, Toby Sheets. "This is a logical progression. He breezed well, and he'll have to step up his game a little."

The Nashua, run last year at the mile distance at Aqueduct Racetrack, was shortened to six furlongs this year and moved to Belmont Park to serve as a key prep race for the newly created Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint.

She Digs Me isn't the only reason Asmussen holds a strong hand in the Nashua; he also will send out 5-2 second choice Seeker, a son of Hard Spun who broke his maiden by 6 ½ lengths in his second and most recent start on September 5 at Saratoga. His 5 ½-furlong race in the slop earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 95, tops among the runners in the Nashua field.

Vexor, a son of Wildcat Heir, defeated Seeker by 1 ¼ lengths when breaking his maiden August 10 at Saratoga, but finished eighth, 42 ¾ lengths back September 5 in the Grade 1 Three Chimneys Hopeful, which was run on a sloppy track.

Trainer John Kimmel dismisses the Hopeful performance and expects a far better effort in the Nashua.

"The horse hated the sloppy track in the Hopeful," Kimmel said of Vexor, 12-1 on the morning line. "[Jockey] David Cohen said after the race that when he came out to warm up, he was slipping and stumbling and didn't even want to go onto the track. He ran a zero [Beyer Speed Figure]; that's like going backwards."

One horse who liked the slop in the Three Chimneys Hopeful was Trinniberg, 10-1, who led the entire way at odds of 68-1 before being caught on the wire by Currency Swap. The son of Teuflesberg easily won his debut at Calder Race Course for trainer Bisnath Parboo before finishing a well-beaten fifth in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

Jagati, 10-1, trained by Eddie Kenneally, finished in a dead heat for second in the Sapling, 6 ½ lengths behind She Digs Me. The barn, however, remains very high on the son of Yes It's True.

"He's a little star of a horse," said Kenneally's assistant, Tom Morley. "You can't fault him in any way. He was unlucky last time in Monmouth. He would have been a clear second. He just didn't have the room he needed coming down the lane. You can't be scared of one horse. This horse has trained super here."

The field is completed by Clip the Coupons, a maiden winner at Saratoga who finished ninth in the Three Chimneys Hopeful for trainer Chad Brown; Hannibal Lecter, winner of a $100,000 maiden claimer at Saratoga in his only start; and Angel's Tune, a recent maiden winner at Delaware Park for trainer Todd Pletcher.

The field for the Grade 2, $150,000 Nashua:








Hannibal Lecter (KY)

R A Dominguez


J T Toscano, Jr.



She Digs Me (KY)

E Trujillo


S M Asmussen



Seeker (KY)

J R Leparoux


S M Asmussen



Jagati (KY)

C J Lanerie


E Kenneally



Clip the Coupons (FL)

J Castellano


C C Brown



Trinniberg (KY)

C H Velasquez


B Parboo



Vexor (FL)

D Cohen


J C Kimmel



Angel's Tune (FL)

J R Velazquez


T A Pletcher




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