Archive for August 2016

“A.P. INDIAN” WINS THE G1 $700,000 FOREGO @SARATOGA

A.P. IndianSARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – A. P. Indian stayed perfect on the year and completed a sweep of the major sprint stakes at Saratoga on Saturday by setting a stakes record in the Grade 1 Forego.

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A. P. Indian has won all five of his starts this year and appears to still be improving. In addition to the $700,000 Forego and the Grade 1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga, A. P. Indian also has won the Belmont Sprint Championship, the Donald LeVine Memorial at Parx, and the Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park. He was elevated to first in the Decathlon when the winner was disqualified for interference.

A. P. Indian, a 6-year-old gelded son of Indian Charlie, is owned and was bred by Richard Masson’s Green Lantern Stables and is based at Fair Hill with trainer Arnaud Delacour. His Grade 1 wins at Saratoga are the first of Delacour’s career.

“He seems to be having a lot of fun,” Delacour said.

A. P. Indian broke alertly from the outside gate in the 10-horse Forego under Joe Bravo, who reserved him off 16-1 shot Chief Lion early. A. P. Indian took the lead on the far turn, drew well clear in upper stretch, and then held the late-running Tamarkuz safe to win by 2 1/2 lengths.

A. P. Indian’s final time of 1:20.99 for seven furlongs lowered the stakes record of 1:21.00 set by Emcee in 2012. The early fractions over the fast track were 22.83 seconds, 45.35, and 1:08.80.

A. P. Indian paid $4.20 to win as the favorite. Tamarkuz rallied to be second, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Stallwalkin’ Dude.

Bravo said after the race that the scratch of Marking, who would have started from the outside post, benefited A. P. Indian.

“I was happy when I got to the jocks’ room and saw the scratch,” Bravo said. “It helps not to have a horse outside pushing you.”

Delacour said races at Belmont Park and Keeneland would be considered for A. P. Indian, as would the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. A. P. Indian earned a fees-paid berth in the Sprint as the Forego was a Win and You’re In as part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.

“He had a good break this winter at Mr. Masson’s farm,” Delacour said, “and I think that has helped him this year. He also seemed to turn a corner after his win at Belmont. He was quiet after that race, and it seemed like he knew something.”

Three of A. P. Indian’s five wins this year have come at seven furlongs.

“He has enough tactical speed to go six furlongs and enough stamina to go seven,” Delacour said.

“UNBRIDLED MO” WINS G3 MONMOUTH OAKS

Unbridled MoOCEANPORT, N.J. – Unbridled Mo won her third consecutive race at the Monmouth Park meet Saturday, wearing down undefeated Tejana by a neck after a long stretch drive while making her stakes debut in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

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Unbridled Mo, with Paco Lopez aboard, stalked the early pace three wide. She moved up outside pacesetting Tejana on the far turn, then continued doggedly in the stretch to get up in the final sixteenth.

“My filly doesn’t have too much speed, so I wanted to just sit off the pace,” Lopez said. “She didn’t have too much patience and wanted to go pressure the horse on the lead in the backstretch. She ran very well today and had to work for the win.”

Tejana, who was 2 for 2 coming into the Oaks, set realistic fractions of 24.06, 47.92, and 1:12.25 in the 1 1/16-mile race. She dug in gamely when challenged by the winner and just failed to last.

Mo d’Amour, who raced between horses in the second flight on the backstretch, moved up outside the top pair in upper stretch but lacked the needed closing kick and finished third, three-quarters of a length behind Tejana. It was 7 3/4 lengths back to A Place to Shine in fourth.

Mo’ Green, who raced inside of Mo d’Amour on the backstretch, hit the inner rail and was checked when things tightened up nearing the far turn. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the incident and jockey Antonio Gallardo aboard Mo’ Green lodged an objection against Nik Juarez, the rider of Mo d’Amour, for interference. The stewards ultimately ruled there would be no change in the order of finish.

Unbridled Mo is trained by Todd Pletcher, who also conditions Mo d’Amour. Unbridled Mo paid $6.80 as the third choice in the six-horse field behind 17-10 Tejana and 19-10 Mo d’Amour. She was timed in 1:44.35.

Unbridled Mo finished seventh in her career debut at Gulfstream Park in April. She won a Monmouth maiden race May 29 and a first-level optional-claiming race July 3.

“STALLWALKIN’ DUDE” WINS TALE OF THE CAT

Stallwalkin' DudeSARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Stallwalkin’ Dude rebounded from a couple of subpar efforts to successfully defend his title in the $100,000 Tale of the Cat, rallying from off the pace to a 1 1/2-length victory over stablemate Chief Lion in Friday’s main event at Saratoga.

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Stallwalkin’ Dude had finished fourth and fifth in his last two starts, both races run over muddy tracks at Belmont Park. But the 6-year-old veteran once again found Saratoga to his liking while benefitting from a nicely judged ride by jockey Joe Bravo.

Stallwalkin’ Dude, who stumbled briefly at the break, saved ground while racing about six lengths off a contested pace, swung wide commencing his bid into the stretch, then finished with good energy down the center of the track to readily wear down Chief Lion and win going away.

Stallwalkin’ Dude raced much closer to the lead before outgaming Scarly Charly by a nose to capture the 2015 Tale of the Cat.

Chief Lion, the tepid 7-2 favorite, raced forwardly from the outset, edged clear at midstretch, but proved no match for the winner while easily best of the others to give trainer David Jacobson a sweep of the top two placings in the Tale of the Cat. Easy to Say outlasted the others to finish third.

Stallwalkin’ Dude paid $18.20 after completing six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.05.

“His last two races were a little off, we tweaked him a little bit, and he just showed his real class,” said trainer David Jacobson. “He’s run with some real good horses, and he ran down a very good horse today, Chief Lion. He obviously likes the track; he won over it last year. To win the Tale of the Cat two years in a row, to win any race two times in a row at Saratoga, is an accomplishment, it’s pretty cool.”

“RED LODGE” ROMPS IN COLLEEN

Red LodgeRed Lodge, making her first start since finishing far back in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot in mid-June, scored a front-running 3 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s $60,000 Colleen Stakes for 2-year-old fillies at Monmouth Park.

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“She is a very nice filly,” said winning rider Paco Lopez. “She had a great break and went to the lead. I hit her one time going around the turn and I knew I had a lot of horse left.”

A daughter of Midshipman trained by Wesley Ward for Head of Plains Partners and Hat Creek Racing, , Red Lodge ($3) is now 2 for 4 with earnings of $81,000. She ran 5 1/2 furlongs on firm turf in 1:02.98.

Iron Mizz, coming off a maiden win over New York-breds, finished second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Harlands Thunder.

HOT SUMMER FOR JOE BRAVO

Joe BravoJockey Joe Bravo continued his exceptional season by racking up four graded stakes wins last weekend. That now gives ‘Jersey Joe’ a total of 12 graded stakes wins so far in 2016, and it moves him into fifth on the American Graded Stakes Standings jockey list.

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Bravo’s lucrative weekend began at Saratoga on Saturday, where he piloted A.P. Indian to victory in the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt. On Sunday, Bravo was back at his home base at Monmouth Park which hosted five graded stakes races, highlighted by the G1 Haskell Invitational.

Bravo proceeded to win three of the five graded stakes on the card, starting with the G2 Monmouth Cup, which he captured with Bradester. In the following race, the G3 Oceanport, Bravo was once again in the winner’s circle, this time with Blacktype. His final stakes win of the day came aboard Itsonlyactingdad in the G3 Matchmaker.

Bravo’s other 2016 graded stakes victories were as follows – G1 Stephen Foster Handicap (Bradester), G3 Belmont Sprint Championship (A.P. Indian), G3 Pegasus (Donegal Moon), G2 Pan American (Kaigun), G3 Red Bank (Middleburg), G1 Madison (Sheer Drama), G3 Shakertown (Undrafted), and G3 Razorback (Upstart).

“JERSEY” JOE BRAVO “JOCKEY OF THE WEEK”

Joe BravoJockey Joe Bravo went from upstate New York to the Jersey Shore amassing four graded stakes wins on his way to the Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week for July 22- July 31. The award is voted on by a panel of experts for riding accomplishments by members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 950 riders in North America.

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The Jersey native would begin the weekend at Saratoga on Saturday when taking the call aboard six year-old A.P. Indian in the $350,000 Gr. 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap.

A.P. Indian and Joe Bravo hooked up with Holy Boss who gained ground on the outside nearing the three-furlong pole and prevailed in a hard-fought stretch battle giving trainer Arnaud Delacour his first grade one victory of his career.

“He’s pretty nice, isn’t he?” said Bravo. “When you have good horses like that they make you look good by hanging on. The [final time] is [asking] a lot to go over a course like this, but the most impressive part is that you got Holy Boss and another very fast horse on the inside, huge competition. Overcoming that is really cool.”

It was then back to his home base of Monmouth Park for a great day of Sunday racing that included five stakes events on Haskell Invitational day.

Bravo captured back-to-back graded stakes victories in the 8th and 9th races Sunday when he first cruised to an easy victory the $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes aboard Bradester for trainer Eddie Keneally. Bravo had to do a little more work in following race, the $150,000 Gr. 3 Oceanport Stakes, when he piloted a game Blacktype (FR) to a hard-fought neck victory for trainer Christophe Clemente from well off the pace.

The 45 year-old would complete a stakes-winning hat trick later in the 11th race when he won the Gr. 3 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes aboard Itsonlyactingdad for trainer Todd Pletcher.

“After my day at Saratoga yesterday being able to come down here with the mounts I had is just living a dream. It is fun to deal with good horses and with these horses any jock in the jock’s room could have sat on any one of these horses and won the race. It’s just nice that it was me. What makes this filly special is that she did it with so much ease. Every time I pointed her at something she listened perfectly,” said Bravo after the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes.

It was an exceptional weekend of riding for Bravo who began his career in 1988 and has dominated the New Jersey racing scene since the early 90’s, winning nine riding titles at The Meadowlands and 13 titles at Monmouth Park.

The last couple of years have been a renaissance of sorts for Bravo who tallied 17 graded victories last season and is on pace for another stellar season with 11 graded stakes wins in 2016.

For the week Bravo won with six of his ten mounts and tallied $556,380 in earnings.

“ITSONLYACTINGDAD” WINS G3 MATCHMAKER

ItsonlyactingdadAfter winning the Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap with A. P. Indian on Saturday at Saratoga, jockey Joe Bravo came back to Monmouth Park, where he picked up three more graded stakes victories Sunday.

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The last of Bravo’s stakes triple came when he guided 5-2 favorite Itsonlyactingdad to a daylight victory in the Grade 3, $110,000 Matchmaker Stakes for fillies and mares on turf.

Earlier on the card, Bravo won the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on heavily favored Bradester and the Grade 3 Oceanport on 5-2 public choice Blacktype. He barely missed a four-win stakes day when Eskenformoney finished a neck short of Genre in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher.

“After my day at Saratoga yesterday being able to come down here with the mounts I had is just living a dream,” Bravo said. “ It’s fun to deal with good horses and with these horses any jock in the jocks’ room could have sat on any one of these horses and won the race. It’s just nice that it was me.”

Means Well, a 33-1 outsider led throughout the first mile of the 1 1/8-mile grass race, contested over yielding ground, setting fractions of 48.38 seconds, 1:14.38, and 1:39.87. The 4-year-old Itsonlyactingdad, seventh after the first six furlongs, was closing strongly on the outside through the stretch. She got within a length of the lead with a furlong remaining and finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of runner-up Tammy the Torpedo. It was another 3 ¾ lengths back to Uchenna, who nosed out Bureau de Change for third.

The winning time was 1:52.27.

It was the first career stakes victory for Itsonlyactingdad, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway trained by Todd Pletcher for Starlight Racing. Her best previous finish in a stakes came when she was second in last year’s Belmont Oaks.

“What makes this filly special is that she did it with so much ease,” said Bravo, who was aboard Itsonlyactingdad for the first time. “Every time I pointed her at something she listened perfectly.”

Itsonlyactingdad is now 4 for 9 with earnings of $371,350.

“GENRE” WINS G3 MOLLY PITCHER

GenreOCEANPORT, N.J. – Genre looked beaten by her Todd Pletcher-trained stablemate Eskenformoney in upper stretch of the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday, but dug deep after being headed and came back on to score a neck victory.

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Genre was the third winner on the day for Pletcher, and the fourth on the afternoon for jockey Paco Lopez.

Genre stalked the early pace of Super Majesty, took the lead on the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race, floated Eskenformoney well out in the track entering the stretch, then proved best after a fierce battle.

Birdatthewire, who broke outward and got away from the gate poorly, moved in tandem with Eskenformoney nearing the far turn, but had to settle for third, three lengths behind Eskenformoney. Super Majesty tired to finish fifth and last.

Genre paid $7.60 as the fourth choice in the five-horse field. She was timed in 1:43.10. Genre, a 4-year-old daughter of Bernardini, is now four for nine in her career. The $100,000 Molly Pitcher was her first stakes win.

“BLACKTYPE” WINS G3 $150,000 OCEANPORT

BlacktypeBlacktype, fifth in each of his first two tries at the Grade 3 stakes level since arriving from France in the fall of 2014, broke through for his first stakes victory when he outbattled Kharafa in deep stretch to narrowly prevail in Sunday’s Grade 3, $158,500 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.

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Sixth after the first six furlongs of the 1 1/16-mile turf race went in 1:14.38, the 5-year-old Blacktype ($7.60) launched a four-wide bid on the turn for home under Joe Bravo, pulled within a length of Kharafa at the eighth pole, and got up by a neck. The 7-year-old New York-bred Kharafa, seventh in last year’s Oceanport as the 6-5 favorite, briefly took a short lead inside the eighth pole before just failing to hold on. He finished 1 1/2 lengths clear of third-place War Dancer.

Blacktype, a French-bred son of Dunkerque trained by Christophe Clement for Jump Sucker Stable, completed the distance over a yielding course in 1:45.64.

“We thought we had the best horse in the race and that turned out to be true,” said Bravo, who was riding Blacktype for the first time. “The turf was in great shape, even with all the rain, and I was just happy to be aboard the best horse. He really dug in the final eighth and was able to push by late.”

Coming off a daylight win in a high-priced optional claimer four weeks ago at Belmont Park that produced a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, Blacktype is now 6 for 19 with earnings of $351,665.

“BRADESTER” WINS G2 $200,000 MONMOUTH CUP

BradesterOCEANPORT, N.J. – Bradester remained undefeated on the year while winning his third race in a row as he scored a repeat victory in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup, the first of five consecutive stakes on the Haskell card at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

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Bradester, 6, is now four for seven and has never finished worse than second at Monmouth Park. This was his third straight appearance in the $200,000 Monmouth Cup, a race in which he finished second two years ago and won in 2015.

Bradester was sent from the gate by jockey Joe Bravo and established a clear early lead. Bravo let him open up on the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile race and he drew off to a long lead. He was not asked for his best late while winning by 2 1/2 lengths.

Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Bradester paid $3.20 in the six-horse field and was timed in 1:42.21 over the sloppy track. Scuba finished second, 5 1/4 lengths in front of third-place Mr. Jordan.

The Monmouth Cup was Bradester’s second career start over a wet surface. He finished second in the 2013 Indiana Derby to Power Broker over a sloppy track.

“We never breeze him in the mud and we didn’t know if he’d love it or not,” Kenneally said. “We knew he loved a fast Monmouth track, but we weren’t sure about a muddy one.”

Kenneally said Bradester could possibly start next in the Grade 1 Woodward, a 1 1/8-mile stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 3.

In his first two starts of the year, Bradester won the Majestic Light Stakes at Monmouth and then scored his first Grade 1 victory in the Stephen Foster, a 1 1/8-miles stakes at Churchill Downs. The Foster was a Win and You’re In for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, a 1 1/4-mile race at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

Last year, Bradester tired to finish ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. At that point, the Classic seemed too long for him.

“He’s a better horse this year so we’ll see how he does and decide which race is right for him,” Kenneally said.

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