Archive for July 2020

Vanzzy makes Jersey Derby third stakes victory

Vanzzy scored the third stakes victory of his career with help from a ground-saving, well-timed ride from Monmouth Park leading rider Paco Lopez, taking the $100,000 Jersey Derby for 3-year-olds on the turf on Sunday.

Vanzzy ($7.20), who had been on the lead in his prior race, found some cover and saved ground along the inside early, never more thn two lengths off the lead. Graded stakes winner Island Commish took the field through an opening six furlongs in a moderate 1:13.16 on a turf course officially rated firm.

Vanzzy found room along the rail turning for home and shot through to take command in upper stretch. He continued to draw clear from there, hitting the wire 3 1/2 lengths in front.

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“[Trainer Michael Pino] left it up to me, but he said this horse can be on the lead if you need him to be,” Lopez said. “The turf course isn’t really fast – it’s a little soft. I was just so comfortable with him being on the rail and following horses. I just had to wait for the chance to move. He really responded when he got through and was able to run.”

Vanzzy finished the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.30.

Bye Bye Melvin, who had tracked the pace in second throughout, gamely held off a late run from favored Irish Mias to be second by three-quarters of a length.

Vanzzy, a Verrazano colt who is trained by Pino for owner Daniel Ryan, added the Jersey Derby to two stakes victories on synthetic tracks, as he took the Display Stakes last December at Woodbine and the Rushaway Stakes in March at Turfway Park. He finished third in the Grade 3 Kent Stakes on July 4 on the Delaware Park turf, and was also stakes-placed on dirt as a juvenile.

“This was his best race yet,” Pino said. “You can see he is getting better with each race, especially when we can get him to settle like we did. I have to think about what is next for him, but maybe the [Grade 3] Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs [on Aug. 29]. We’ll play it by ear. He has become a real solid horse.”

Jersey joe dominates at monmouth, honored with foundationdetox.Com jockey of the week award

After leading the Nation in stakes wins, Joe Bravo was voted the Jockeys’ Guild Foundation Detox Jockey of the Week for July 13th – July 19th. 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.

As he’s done since the early 1990’s at historic Monmouth Park, New Jersey born Joe Bravo continues to be a force to be reckoned with as he captured three stakes including the $315,000 United Nations Stakes (G1), the $262,500 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3), and the $76,500 Jersey Girl Handicap.

In the United Nations Stakes, aboard Aquaphobia, Jersey Joe had the seven-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway in a stalking position. While saving ground in the mile and three eights marathon, the veteran rider entertained the perfect trip before splitting horses to win clear for conditioner Michael Maker.

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Returning in the day’s finale, the Molly Pitcher Stakes, Bravo climbed aboard Horologist in the one mile and sixteenth contest on the dirt. Tracking and commencing a bid on the far turn, the New Jersey bred daughter of Gemologist rallied through the stretch under constant urging to draw clear for trainer William Mott.

To complete the weekend, Bravo accepted the mount aboard the Michael Maker trained Bramble Bay in Sunday’s Jersey Girl Handicap, a mile on the turf for Jersey bred fillies and mares. Jersey Joe saved ground aboard the daughter of Bullet Train before angling off the rail to split horses with a sixteenth of a mile remaining and up in time for the victory.

In addition, Bravo finished third in the marquee race of the meet, the TVG.com Haskell Stakes (G1) while producing a mild rally aboard the Tod Pletcher’s Belmont Stakes runner up Dr. Post. Bravo also finished second in the Matchmaker Stakes (G3) and third in the Wolf Hill Stakes.

As the leading rider by total stakes wins (3), Bravo maintained a 36% win percentage while in the money on 73% of his mounts. With four wins, one second and three thirds, his earnings totaled $554,500.

Bravo has won 20 of 212 starts this year and 5,408 of 29,999 career mounts. In 2020, his mounts have earned $1,770,192 and his lifetime earnings exceed $184 million.

Jockey of the Week is sponsored by Foundation Detox, removing the toxins that affect our equine athletes. For more information visit JockeyTalk360.com/FoundationDetox.

JockeyTalk360.com spotlights the riders across North America and around the world who may be the bravest, toughest, and most accomplished of all athletes. The Jockeys’ Guild Jockey of the Week is selected by a vote of representatives of TVGAmerica’s Best RacingThe Daily Racing FormEquibaseHorse Racing NationThe Jockeys’ GuildThe Paulick ReportThe Thoroughbred Daily NewsNational Thoroughbred Racing AssociationNational Turf Writers and BroadcastersThoroughbred Racing AssociationsTurf Publicists of America and Racing Stats & Info on Twitter.

Horologist improves to 5-for-5 at Monmouth with Molly Pitcher win

New Jersey-bred Horologist loves the Garden State. Back at Monmouth Park–where she was a three-time winner last summer–Horologist improved to 5-for-5 overall on the Jersey Shore main track when running down longshot front-runner Our Super Freak in the stretch to win the $250,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Horologist was making her first start for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott after spending the first half of this season with Richard Baltas. She capped off a big day for Mott, who about 30 minutes earlier won the $350,000 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) with Paris Lights at Saratoga.

Ridden by Joe Bravo — who also won the Grade 1 United Nations earlier on the card with Aquaphobia — Horologist stalked fractions of :23.64 and :47.09 for the opening half mile set by dueling longshots Our Super Freak and Winning Color in the 1 1/16 miles Molly Pitcher. Horologist took aim at the leaders at the three-eighths pole and after six furlongs in 1:11.32, drew on even terms with Our Super Freak at the top of the stretch.

Click here to read from Horse Racing Nation

While Our Super Freak continued on gamely, Horologist edged in front of that rival late and pulled clear to win by about two lengths in a final time of 1:43.84. Our Super Freak was followed across the wire by 3-2 favorite Royal Flag and Sweet Sami D.

Horologist, who is owned by Cameron Beatty’s There’s a Chance Parkland Thoroughbreds, paid $9.40 as the 7-2 fourth choice in the wagering. She’s a Julie, who was exiting a win in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on June 13, was never a factor.

This is the second stakes win for Horologist, who last year won the Monmouth Oaks (G3) while with trainer John F. Mazza. Previously this season, the daughter of Gemologist was off the board in both the La Canada (G3) at Santa Anita and Apple Blossom (G1) at Oaklawn Park, second in the Nellie Morse at Laurel Park and most recently was eased in the May 31 Santa Maria (G2) at Santa Anita.

“Sometimes the horse goes to something new that they’re not familiar with. It’s all a risk, ” Beatty said of the Santa Anita outing. “Me and my partners took the risk. We regrouped and we decided to bring her back to Monmouth Park. We knew she loved it here. She’s 5-for-5 here now. She just loves it here. I love it here. It’s unbelievable that she’s a multiple graded stakes winner now as Jersey-bred. Just a tremendous feeling of accomplishment.”

Bravo pilots Aquaphobia to United Nations Stakes triumph

Veteran jockey Joe Bravo and veteran horse Aquaphobia teamed up Saturday at Monmouth Park to take the Grade 1, $300,000 United Nations Stakes.

Aquaphobia, a 7-year-old Mike Maker trainee, made the United Nations his first graded triumph. It came in the son of Giant’s Causeway’s 36th career start.

Bravo, 48, meanwhile won the United Nations for the fifth time, with all those wins coming since 2012.

Aquaphobia broke from post No. 5 in the 1 3/8-mile turf stakes at 10-1 odds. Fellow 10-1 shot Paret went out to the lead, setting unhurried fractions of :24.50, :48.90, 1:14.41 and 1:38.48.

Click here to read from Horse Racing Nation

Coming around the third turn, Bravo had Aquaphobia positioned comfortably along the rail behind the pace setter. Aquaphobia moved up just to the inside of Corelli entering the stretch, one length off Paret.

Once in the stretch, Bravo had the most horse left in the three-way battle. Aquaphobia pulled clear of Corelli, then passed Paret to score by a length.

Aquaphobia covered the 11 furlongs in 2:12.63 and returned $23.40. Paret was second, Corelli third and Arklow – the 6-5 favorite – fourth.

Paradise Farms Corp., David Staudacher, Hooties Racing LLC and Skychai Racing LLC campaign Aquaphobia. Maker claimed the United Nations hero for $62,500 out of a Gulfstream Park race Jan. 26.

“Joe Bravo rode him beautifully,” Maker said of Saturday’s victory. “We had a lot of confidence in the horse coming in and he didn’t let us down. He’s run a mile and quarter in the past in he was successful, but he hasn’t had the opportunity to go that long or longer again. We felt this horse was better than we were getting out of him. I think the distance was the reason.

“He’d been training dynamite, so I was optimistic. Coming out of his last race, the Grade 2 Wise Dan (on June 20 at Churchill Downs), I thought that was a good race. He was beaten less than two lengths. So it looked like he was getting back to where we think he can be. He’s a classy, sound horse who makes it easy.”

Nay Lady Nay Gives Brown Another Matchmaker Win

Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

There was a graded turf stakes at Monmouth Park July 18, and two fillies trained by Chad Brown dueled through the final sixteenth to finish 1-2.

The specifics this time was that First Row Partners and Hidden Brook Farm’s Nay Lady Nay edged stablemate Beautiful Lover to prevail by a half-length in the $152,500 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (G3T) to kick off a slate of five graded stakes on the Haskell Day card.

“I was very pleased with both fillies’ efforts,” Brown said from Saratoga Race Couse. “Both got good trips and kicked nicely.”

Click here to read from Bloodhorse

The Matchmaker underscored why Brown has been the Eclipse Award-winning trainer for the past four years, and the female turf champ has resided in his barn the past three. Suffice it to say, with Rushing Fall, Newspaperofrecord, Uni, and Sistercharlie in their stalls this year, four champs in a row is hardly out of the question.

Yet when it comes to turf females, Brown’s barn has depth from top to bottom. Nay Lady Nay and Beautiful Lover completed the Matchmaker exacta as the two betting choices in the field of seven.

He also sent out William Lawrence and Bradley Thoroughbreds’ Tapit Today to finish fourth.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing and Tango Uniform Racing’s Feel Glorious was third for trainer Christophe Clement in a race where the owners of the top three finishers can collect on a total value of $50,000 in stallion seasons to WinStar’s Exaggerator, Take Charge Indy, and Yoshida.

The Matchmaker set up nicely for the top two finishers as Tapit Today pressed the pace-setting Valedictorian through a :47.68 opening half-mile, with Nay Lady Nay and Beautiful Lover third and fourth, respectively, on the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile stakes. As the two speedsters weakened in the stretch, Brown’s two runners went by, with 2-1 favorite Nay Lady Nay ($6.40) prevailing to give the 41-year-old trainer his third win in four years in the stakes and fourth in six years.

“She’s a nice filly, and she showed some nice speed,” jockey Paco Lopez said. “Chad has done a great job with her.”

The victory was the fourth in seven starts for the 4-year-old daughter of No Nay Never out of the English Channel mare Lady Ederle who has earned $356,180. Bred in Ireland by Stephen Sullivan, she was bought by Hidden Brook for $210,000 from the Eddie Woods consignment at the 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sales March Sale of 2-Year-Olds in Training.

Eighth in the May 30 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes (G3T) in her only other 2020 start, though she was only beaten by two lengths, Nay Lady Nay closed her 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (G2T).

A full sister to group 2 winner Arizona, Nay Lady Nay is the second grade/group stakes winner from Lady Ederle’s three foals to race.

Her dam also has an unraced 2-year-old filly named Lady Peoria by Estidhkaar.

Paul Pompa Jr. and Gary Tolchin’s 3-1 second choice, Beautiful Lover, a 4-year-old daughter of Arch ridden by Joe Bravo who was fourth in the Gamely Stakes (G1T) in her previous start, finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Feel Glorious, a Bated Breath 4-year-old.

Jockey Paco Lopez Looking Forward To Strong Competition At Monmouth Meet

The competition may change from one summer to the next but the goal never does for Paco Lopez. Once he arrives at Monmouth Park he does so with a single-minded objective: To be the leading rider.

With his right thumb fully healed following surgery on April 14, Lopez has his sights set on a seventh riding title when Monmouth Park’s 75th season of racing gets underway on Friday, July 3.

“I want to try to win it again. I come to Monmouth Park thinking that every year,” said Lopez.

The native of Veracruz, Mexico, notched his sixth Monmouth Park jockey title a year ago, leaving him behind only Joe Bravo (13 titles) in number of titles won at the Jersey Shore oval.

But last year’s finish atop the rider standings at Monmouth Park may have been his most impressive one yet. He didn’t ride at the track until June 15 – six weeks after the meet started. Nik Juarez had built what looked to be a comfortable lead in the standings by then. Lopez caught and passed Juarez on the final weekend of the meet, finishing with 109 victories to Juarez’s 107 in the closest jockey’s race in track history.
The strong finish by Lopez included a victory aboard 14-1 shot Hunter O’Riley in the Grade 1 United Nations.

Click here to read from Paulick Report

“You have to be lucky and stay healthy. But at least this time I will be there from the beginning of the meet, so maybe that will give me an extra advantage,” Lopez said. “I know I will try hard for it. Every year things change so you don’t know what will happen. There are new faces, new clients and new challenges. You have to see what happens.”

Lopez will face some rigorous competition over the 37-day meet, with proven journeyman Victor Carrasaco, the 2013 Eclipse Award-winning apprentice, moving his tack from Maryland. Bravo is back as well, as are Juarez and reliable veterans Jose C. Ferrer and Chris DeCarlo, with Antonio Gallardo and Trevor McCarthy adding to the jockey room’s star power. Gallardo, who had 65 mounts at Monmouth last year, has committed to full-time riding after recently capturing the jockey’s title at Tampa Downs.

“The competition is very good this year,” said Lopez. “But I like competition. The competition pushes me.”

Lopez, who has more than 2,800 career wins, is coming off a career year, having set personal bests for victories (283) and earnings ($10.9 million-plus) in 2019.

He still sports a supporting brace on his right hand to help with his surgically-repaired thumb, which he fractured when he was unseated during a race on April 11 at Gulfstream Park. Lopez returned to riding on May 21, finishing third in the standings at the Gulfstream “Championship Meet” with 96 winners.

“I’m fine. I feel good. I’m ready to go,” he said. “I love being here every summer. I keep coming back because I love Monmouth and I love being in New Jersey in the summer. As long as I stay healthy I think it will be a good meet.”

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