Archive for September 2012

Paco Lopez Leads In Monmouth Stakes Wins

Paco LopezWith six stakes races remaining in the 2012 Monmouth Park schedule, Paco Lopez is the leading stakes-winning rider with 10 victories, and three of them came in Grade 3 races. Morever, Lopez’s double-digit stakes wins were on horses saddled by eight different trainers. Click Here to Read Original Article “We’re very happy with the meet, that’s for sure,” said Lopez, who has worked with jockey agent Corey Moran since coming to the United States from his native Mexico just five years ago when he was 21. “Business is good.” Lopez, who rode quarter horses at Mexican bush tracks, started his Thoroughbred career like a house afire. He won the Eclipse Award as the Outstanding Apprentice rider in 2008, but unlike so many other young riders, his business did not tail off when he lost the bug. He was the leading rider at Monmouth’s Elite Summer Meet in 2010, and has also captured top honors at The Meadowlands and Gulfstream Park. He is currently ranked second in the Monmouth standings behind defending leading rider Elvis Trujillo, and on August 17 he reached the 1,000 win milestone even though he’s only been in irons for a relatively short time. Trainers across the country have taken notice. For the first time this season he rode at Del Mar and had a mount in the $1 million Pacific Classic and later won a race on the card that day for John Sadler. At Monmouth, he has ridden stakes winners for Todd Pletcher, Eddie Plesa, Jr. (two), Bruce Alexander (two), Bret Calhoun, Chad Brown, Kelly John Breen, George Weaver, and Tim Hills. After the Monmouth meet ends on October 7, Lopez and Moran will head to Kentucky to try the fall meets at Keeneland Race Course and Churchill Downs for the first time. The venture comes after a false start last year. Moran explained that the two of them had planned to test the Keeneland spring meet, but Lopez was sidelined by a broken collar bone suffered in a spill at Gulfstream Park. Now with more graded stakes wins on his resume, business is brisk. “We’re going to try something new,” said Lopez. “It’s always exciting when it’s the first time. I hope to do really good and maybe we can get lucky.”

Brave Dave wire to wire in Sapling Stakes score

Jockey Paco LopezDespite stumbling badly at the start and bumping with a rival, Brave Dave quickly recovered to lead at every point of call en route to a three-quarter-length victory in the $101,000 Sapling Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Sunday. Click Here to read original article “He took a really bad stumble out of the gate, but I know this horse and how fast he is,” winning jockey Paco Lopez said. “He rebounded pretty quickly and was in front quickly. I was just sitting and waiting and sitting and waiting ‘til the quarter pole when I asked my horse. I saw the other horse [Special Jo] coming with his run and my horse responded nicely.” Special Jo, last of six early, moved up to second after a half-mile to stalk Brave Dave and raced willingly in the stretch but was unable to threaten the winner while finishing 4½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Drum Roll. Brave Dave covered the six-furlong distance in 1:10.44 on a fast track. The two-year-old Put It Back colt was making his third career start at a third different track, winning his debut at Calder Race Course on June 30 before shipping to Saratoga Race Course, where he finished fourth in the Sanford Stakes (G2) on July 22. Bred in Florida by David Melin, Bea Oxenberg, and trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., Brave Dave races for Melin and Laurie Plesa. Out of the Songandaprayer mare Sing That Song, a full sister to Grade 2-placed stakes winner Bee Cee Cee, Brave Dave boosted his earnings to $91,100 with his second win from three starts.

Brave Dave Refuses to Bend in Sapling

Paco LopezFavored Brave Dave overcame a bad stumble at the start to register a front-running victory in the $100,000 Sapling Stakes (gr. III) at Sept. 2 at Monmouth Park. Click Here to read original article Brave Dave defeated Special Jo by three-quarters of a length while completing the six-furlong test in a time of 1:10.44 on a fast track. Six 2-year-old colts contested the Sapling after four scratches. Fourth in the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga Race Course last time out, Brave Dave was ridden back by Paco Lopez for trainer Edward Plesa Jr. A Florida homebred owned by David Melin and Laurie Plesa, Brave Dave broke his maiden at first asking June 30 at Calder Casino & Race Course. He is now 2-for-3 in his brief career with earnings of $91,100. "He overcame stumbling out of the gate and my main concern was that he would grab himself but he seems to be alright," Plesa said. "He's blessed with a lot of speed and now we'll have to see how far he'll go." The scratches of 5-2 morning line favorite Overanalyze and 4-1 shot Lawn Man in favor of the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 3 at Saratoga altered the wagering. Brave Dave was made the narrow 17-10 pick over Drum Roll at 19-10. Brave Dave, breaking from post 3, stumbled out the gate and bumped with Coach A. J. but regained his stride quickly to jump out to a 1 1/2-length lead over Coach A. J. and Bobcat Jim. He ran an opening quarter mile in a speedy :21.66 and a half in :44.84, continuing to dictate terms through the turn. Special Jo, last early, circled the field on the turn and drew close to Brave Dave at the three-sixteenth pole. But Brave Dave, responding to rousing from Lopez, repelled that challenge to regain control through the lane. Under urging, Brave Dave held off Special Jo, ridden by Elvis Trullio, through the final furlong. "He took a really bad stumble out of the gate, but I know this horse and how fast he is," Lopez said. "He rebounded pretty quickly and was in front quickly. I was just sitting and waiting and sitting and waiting until the quarter pole when I asked my horse. I saw (Special Jo) coming with his run and my horse responded nicely." Special Jo finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of Drum Roll, who loomed on the outside rounding the turn but weakened in the stretch under Chris DeCarlo. Bobcat Jim, Coach A. J., and Tap and Trade followed. Brave Dave paid $5.40, $3.20, $2.20. Special Jo returned $5.40 and $3. Drum Roll paid $2.20. Two others were scratched: Keep the Canoli and Lucci the Lion. Earlier on the Monmouth card, 15-1 shot Doubled, ridden by Angel Arroyo, rallied near the inside past mid-stretch to defeat 3-10 favorite I'mclassyandsassy by 1 3/4 lengths in the $100,000 Sorority Stakes. Trained by Cathal Lynch for owner/breeder Nancy Shuford, Doubled ran six furlongs in 1:11.88 to defeat six 2-year-old filly rivals. She collared pacesetter Back to Class at the sixteenth pole and drew off. The winner, by Exchange Rate out of the Menifee mare Mayan Milagra, is a half sister to grade II winner Dancinginherdreams. Doubled was coming off a third-place finish in the Colleen Stakes on the Monmouth turf Aug. 12. The gray/roan filly won for the second time in four starts and extended her earnings to $98,550. Doubled paid $32.80 for the win. I'mclassyandsassy, a 6 1/4-length maiden debut winner July 27 for trainer Steve Hobby, rallied mildly for second with Paco Lopez aboard. She finished second by three-quarters of length over Back to Class, who posted swift fractions of :21.43 and :44.50 with Charles Lopez aboard.

Brave Dave overcomes stumble to win Sapling

Jockey Paco LopezBrave Dave overcame a poor start to score a wire-to-wire win in Sunday’s Grade 3, $101,000 Sapling Stakes for 2-year-olds at Monmouth Park. Sent off as the 7-5 favorite after flashing high speed and fading late in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga, Brave Dave ($5.40) stumbled badly when the starting gate opened, bumping Coach A.J., but recovered and was quickly sent to the front by jockey Paco Lopez. Click Here to Read Original Article “He took a really bad stumble out of the gate, but I know this horse and how fast he is,” Lopez said. “He rebounded pretty quickly and was in front quickly.” Brave Dave set fractions of 21.66 and 44.84 seconds and continued on to score by three-quarters of a length over Special Jo. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to third-place finisher Drum Roll, the 9-5 second choice. Brave Dave, a son of Put It Back owned by David Melin and Laura Plesa, covered the six furlongs in 1:10.44 for his second win in three starts. “My main concern was that he would grab himself but he seems to be all right,” said trainer Eddie Plesa regarding Brave Dave’s bad start. “He’s blessed with a lot of speed and now we’ll have to see how far he’ll go.” Doubled connects at 15-1 in Sorority Doubled, returning to the main track after a one-race experiment on turf, made up a three-length deficit in the final furlong to upset the $100,000 Sorority for 2-year-old fillies. Third in the five-furlong Colleen on the grass in her first race against winners, Doubled ($32.80) rallied along the inside under Angel Arroyo to score by 1 ¾ lengths over 1-5 favorite I’mclassyandsassy. Back to Class, a 42-1 outsider, set the pace and was two lengths in front with a furlong remaining before fading to third, ¾ of a length behind runner-up I’mclassyandsassy. “I just sat on the rail most of the way,” Arroyo said. “ There was plenty of room for her around the turn so I just went with her. The instructions were to just sit and come with one run and that’s what I did. She finished up real strong.” Based at Parx with trainer Cathal Lynch, Doubled ran the six furlongs in 1:11.88. She won her maiden by a nose at Parx on July 24. A daughter of Exchange Rate, Doubled is owned by Nancy Shuford.

Tune Me In Takes Grade 3 Cliff Hanger, Lopez Sweeps Stakes

Cliff Hanger StakesOceanport, N.J. – Patricia Generazio’s Tune Me In gave jockey Paco Lopez a stakes sweep at Monmouth Park on Saturday, capturing the Grade 3 $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes as Say a Novena battled back on the inside to capture the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes before a crowd 11,120. Tune Me In battled with Get Serious through six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 before asserting himself at the quarter pole and holding off the late charge of Salto. Winning his second Monmouth graded stakes in a row, Tune Me In paid $15.40, $5.20 and $2.20 and topped the $53.40 exacta. He covered the flat mile on firm turf in 1:33.96. Salto, who finished a length behind the winner, returned $3.40 and $2.20 as the 6-5 favorite in the field of five colts and geldings. It was another head back to Get Serious, who paid $2.40 to show. Click Here to Read Original Article “When you don’t expect it, it’s especially nice to win,” said winning trainer Bruce Alexander. “In mid-stretch, you think you’re vulnerable and they’re going to close in, but in the last 50 yards he was actually getting a little space in between him and the contenders. Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he’s moved up to another level now.” Tune Me In, a 5-year-old gelding by Concorde’s Tune from the Court Trial mare Pleasant Courtney, has won five of his 21 starts, earning $349,845 for his connections. In the Miss Woodford Stakes, the Eddie Plesa Jr. trained Say a Novena covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.04 and paid $22.80, $8.40 and $4.20. Singlet, who was a half-length back in second, completed the $84.20 exacta and returned $3.60 and $2.60. It was another length and three-quarters back to Klondike Kate, the favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, who paid $2.80 to show. “They told me to just go out there and see what she wants to do,” said Lopez. “She broke well and we were on top quickly. That other horse (Singlet) went by us, but I still had horse and she fought back gamely on the rail.” Say a Novena, who competed in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, scored her first victory of the season by taking the Miss Woodford. The Rick Shanley color bearer now sports a record of 4-4-0 from 13 starts, good for earnings of $318,350. Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, Sept. 2 for day two of the BBQ and Beer Festival. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post set for 12:45 p.m. In addition to the Sunday program, Monmouth will host a live Labor Day card on Monday, Sept. 3.

Tune Me In scores again, winning Cliff Hanger

 Cliff Hanger StakesOCEANPORT, N.J. - Tune Me In scored a second straight Grade 3 upset at Monmouth Park, beating 6-5 favorite Salto by one length on Saturday in the $99,000 Cliff Hanger on the turf. A snowy-gray 5-year-old gelding, Tune Me In pulled a 25-1 upset in the Oceanport on the Haskell Day undercard. This time, the price was a still generous 6-1. Click Here to Read Original Article As in the Oceanport, Tune Me In and Get Serious, a five-time graded stakes winner at Monmouth, waged an early battle. While the pace was much quicker over a far firmer course in the Cliff Hanger than in the Oceanport, the outcome was the same. Tune Me In won the early battle, and ultimately the war. Racing on the fence, Tune Me In cut the corner sharply and sprinted clear. Salto, the trailer for most of the race, angled to the far outside and took dead aim at the leader. But Tune Me In just kept going, converting trainer Bruce Alexander into a believer. "He had to convince me," Alexander said. "He's a really good horse. He took a little time to go through his conditions. When we added blinkers last year, it made an improvement. Did I think he was at this level? No. He had to prove it to me, too." That skepticism kept Alexander away from the betting windows. "I didn't bet him last time and I didn't bet him today," Alexander said. "I rooted like crazy, but he still had to convince me." Paco Lopez was aboard for an upset sweep of both Monmouth stakes. He earlier guided Say a Novena to victory in the Miss Woodford Stakes. Salto, making his third start in the U.S., held second by a head over Get Serious who made a mild late run in the final stages. Lentenor was fourth followed by Upgrade. Tune Me In paid $15.40 to win, running the one mile in 1:33.96. Admiral Perry and Glass Art were scratched, reducing the field to five.

Tune Me In Gets Two In A Row In Cliff Hanger

Cliff Hanger StakesPatricia Generazio's Tune Me In silenced his doubters Sept. 1 at Monmouth Park when he shook free to win the $99,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes (gr. IIIT), his second straight graded stakes score in less than three months. Those who thought a July 29 win at 25-1 in the Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT) was a fluke for the 5-year-old Concorde's Tune gelding were surprised to see him hold off the late charge of even-money favorite Salto. Tune Me In asserted himself at the quarter pole and dug in to win by one length. Final time for the flat mile on firm turf was 1:33.96. Click Here to read original article "When you don't expect it, it's especially nice to win," trainer Bruce Alexander said of the 6-1 shot. "He's all heart. In the late stretch, I thought my horse was never in any jeopardy. They weren't closing the gap. In mid-stretch, you think you're vulnerable and they're going to close in, but in the last 50 yards he was actually getting a little space in between him and the contenders." Tune Me In and Get Serious raced in tandem on the lead for a :24.23 opening quarter and a half in :47.65, with Tune Me In on the inside under Paco Lopez and Get Serious outside under Pablo Fragoso. Well-reserved by Lopez, the gray gelding responded well when asked heading into the far turn. "I wasn't going to let Get Serious get away and Pablo had to use his horse while I was just sitting and waiting," Lopez said. "At the quarter pole I asked him for his run and he took off." Salto, racing in last to the far turn under Elvis Trujillo, swung four wide into the lane and rallied outside to get the place. It was another head back to Get Serious, who surged back for third. Lentenor was fourth and Upgrade completed the order of finish. Admiral Perry and Glass Art scratched. Tune Me In paid $15.40, $5.20, and $2.20. Salto brought back $3.40 and $2.20, and Get Serious returned $2.40. Tune Me In, bred in Florida by Joseph and Helen Barbazon, is out of the Court Trial mare Pleasant Courtney. Tune Me In has a 5-7-4 record from his 21 starts, with earnings of $349,845. "I am very impressed by this horse," Alexander said. "He's an overachiever. Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he's moved up to another level now." The Cliff Hanger win was a stakes sweep at Monmouth by Lopez, who earlier rode Say a Novena to battle back on the inside in the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes. The Eddie Plesa Jr.-trained daughter of Songandaprayer covered six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.04 and paid $22.80, $8.40 and $4.20. Singlet, who was a half-length back in second, completed the $84.20 exacta and returned $3.60 and $2.60. It was another length and three-quarters back to Klondike Kate, the favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, who paid $2.80 to show. "They told me to just go out there and see what she wants to do," said Lopez. "She broke well and we were on top quickly. Singlet went by us, but I still had horse and she fought back gamely on the rail." Say a Novena, who was 10th last year in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), scored her first victory of the season by taking the Miss Woodford. The Rick Shanley color-bearer now sports a record of 4-4-0 from 13 starts, good for earnings of $318,350. Read more on BloodHorse.com: http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/72513/cliff-hanger-tune-me-in-gets-second-straight#ixzz25OynEAwK

Jockey Paco Lopez wins both the Cliff Hanger and Miss Woodford stakes at Monmouth Park

Jockey Paco Lopez captured two stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday, scoring with Tune Me In in the $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes and Say a Novena in the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes. Click Here for original article Tune Me In help off Salto by a length in the Cliff Hanger on the turn. The Bruce Alexander-trained gelding covered the mile in 1:34 and paid $15.40, $5.20 and $2.20 in winning his second straight stakes at Monmouth Park. Salto returned $3.40 and $2.20, while Get Serious finished another head back and paid $2.40 to show. In the Miss Woodford, the Eddie Plesa Jr. trained Say a Novena ran six furlongs in 1:10.04 and paid $22.80, $8.40 and $4.20 in winning for the first time this year. Singlet, who was a half-length back in second, returned $3.60 and $2.60. Klondike Kate, the favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, paid $2.80 to show.

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