OCEANPORT. – After testing trainer John Terranova’s patience almost from the moment he was race ready, Fluid Situation will finally get the opportunity to show if his promise will translate to the track.
The 3-year-old son of Warrior’s Reward, coming off a dazzling maiden-breaking score at Tampa Bay Downs on March 27, will face the first real test of his career when he tries both two turns and winners for the first time in Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes, the feature race on Monmouth Park’s eight-race opening day card.
Fix Odds on Monmouth Park races will also debut with the start of the 62-day meet.
“We had this race in mind from the start for him.” Said Terranova. “We thought about the (Grade 2) Pat Day Mile (on Saturday’s Kentucky Derby undercard) but that seemed a little too ambitious at this stage of his career.
Fluid Situation will face seven other 3-year-olds in the mile and 70 feature, including Dean’s List, the runnerup in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes on March 5, and the Ken McPeek-trained Dash Attack, whose last three races have been in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes and the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes.
“If he was able to put things together a little quicker we feel we would be right there with the rest of the field,” said Terranova. “He has always trained like a good one.”
Owned by Curragh Stables, Fluid Situation made just one start at 2, finishing sixth in a Maiden Special Weight race at Saratoga. He wouldn’t get back to the races until a fourth-place finish in Maiden Special Weight company at Aqueduct on Feb. 26.
“He had some baby issues. He’s a big, raw colt. So we gave him some time after his first start,” Terranova said. “We just decided to let him come along at his own pace and when he got to Aqueduct he ran a little better but he struggled with the track. The track at Aqueduct in the winter can be very demanding. I think he struggled with it. I would have sent him to Tampa with some of my other horses but he had a little respiratory issue and I didn’t want to put him on the van. So we got him ready for that race in New York.”
When Terranova was finally able to ship Fluid Situation to Tampa Bay Downs the result was everything he hoped for. In his third career start, going seven furlongs in Maiden Special Weight company, Fluid Situation won by 5¾ lengths, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.
Now he will try stakes company in his fourth career start and off his maiden-breaking win.
“It’s been a matter of being patient with him,” said Terranova. “He has trained like a quality colt all along. He’s got some talent. He has continued to train well since we got back from Tampa.”
Terranova doesn’t often venture to Monmouth Park from his New York base, though he did last year with Bank Sting for the Molly Pitcher Stakes. But Bank Sting flipped in the starting gate and was a late scratch.
So he is coming with a purpose with Fluid Situation.
“This is definitely a test for him,” he said. “But we think he’s up to it.”
The opening day program will mark the national debut for Fixed Odds wagering, which allows bettors to retain the odds at the time of their bet — as opposed to tote wagering, where odds are not finalized until betting is completed and the race begins.
In addition, The Shore’s Biggest Derby party will part of the Saturday festivities leading up to the Kentucky Derby (estimated post time 6:45 p.m.), with Best Hat and Best Dressed Couple winners selected throughout the day. Winners will receive a $100 bet on the Kentucky Derby.
There will also be Red Carpet photo ops at two locations: The Lady’s Secret Café and the Grandstand fountains.
Parking throughout the meet is free. Admission is $6 – for either the Clubhouse or the Grandstand.