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Alittleloveandluck First Black-Type Winner for Arrogate

Alittleloveandluck became the first black-type winner for her late sire Arrogate when she took the $100,000 Ginger Brew Stakes Jan. 1 at Gulfstream Park.

The 3-year-old filly owned and trained by Michael Dini is from a limited crop by the champion son of Unbridled’s Song, who died unexpectedly in 2020 at age 7 after just three seasons at stud. She is the first sophomore starter by Arrogate, who himself did not debut until April of his 3-year-old year and did not break his maiden until that June before going on to greatness.

Bred in Florida by Helen and Joseph Barbazon out of the Point Given mare Points of Grace , Alittleloveandluck was acquired privately by Dini after failing to meet her reserve when the hammer fell for $135,000 at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale. The filly took four starts to break her maiden, testing her mettle in open company on the turf at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park and on the dirt at Parx Racing before she graduated Nov. 12 with a game nose score under Paco Lopez in a mile and 70-yard test for state-breds over Gulfstream’s new Tapeta surface.

Dini felt Alittleloveandluck was destined for turf racing, but began to have his doubts when the filly failed to hit the board in either of her first two starts, both on the lawn. When the Gulfstream racing office called to see if he would try her once again on turf in the Ginger Brew, however, the trainer gave it another shot.

“I said, ‘Well, I might as well try her one more time on the grass with a short field,'” Dini recalled.

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With Lopez back in the irons, Alittleloveandluck secured inside position from post 3 around the first turn of the Ginger Brew, which was run at about a mile on firm turf. She settled nicely as Li Li Bear showed the way, then shifted out to the five path around the turn for home and responded under right-handed pressure to draw clear in a hand-timed clocking of 1:36.68. Fractional times were not available.

Ocean Safari , who briefly took the lead, was outkicked and had to settle for second by half a length. Even-money favorite Opalina completed the trifecta.

Alittleloveandluck was sent off at odds of 7-1 in her stakes debut and return from the state-bred ranks, and paid $17.80 on a $2 win ticket.

Juddmonte’s homebred Arrogate earned the 2016 champion 3-year-old male title after scoring five consecutive wins that culminated in victories in the Travers Stakes (G1)—which he won by 13 1/2 lengths while breaking a 36-year-old track record for 1 1/4 miles—and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), in which he beat 2016 Horse of the Year California Chrome . He kicked off his 4-year-old season by winning the inaugural $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) in track-record time and followed with a hard-to-believe last-to-first win in the $10 million Dubai World Cup Sponsored By Emirates Airline (G1) after a tardy start. Trained by Bob Baffert, Arrogate retired with a 7-1-1 record from 11 starts and earnings of $17,422,600, making him the richest North American racehorse in history.

Bipartisanship Records First Stakes Win In Eventful Tropical Park Oaks

Fortune Racing LLC’s Bipartisanship overcame traffic while also benefitting from a fast early pace Sunday at Gulfstream Park, rallying from far back to prevail in a most eventful running of the $100,000 Tropical Park Oaks.

The Tropical Park Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, co-headlined Sunday’s day-after-Christmas program at the Hallandale Beach, Fla., track, with the Tropical Park Derby, a 1 1/16-mile turf event for 3-year-olds.

Bipartisanship, a British-bred daughter of Bated Breath who was sent to post at 19-1, scored by a half-length after jockey Paco Lopez found room between horses in the stretch to record her first stakes victory. The Graham Motion-trained filly was purchased privately following a third-place finish in a Group 3 race in Ireland in July.

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Bipartisanship saved ground while racing well behind a lively pace set by multiple graded-stakes winner Lady Speightspeare, the 6-5 favorite ridden by Emma-Jayne Wilson, and pressed by Tobys Heart. The pacemakers set fractions of 23 and 46.99 seconds for the first half mile before continuing to do battle on the turn into the homestretch. Previously undefeated Lady Speightspeare, who captured the Natalma (G1) on turf and the Bessarabian (G2) on Tapeta at Woodbine, suddenly veered five paths to the outside entering the stretch to briefly lose the lead to longshot Mademoiselle Nova, but quickly recovered to take back the lead in mid-stretch.

The pressured pace and her greenness, however, took its toll on the heavy favorite in deep stretch, when Bipartisanship, who was blocked at the top of the stretch, surged between horses to get to the wire first. Stunning Finish also made a wide rally to finish second, a neck ahead of Lady Speightspeare.

“I was a little worried at the top of the stretch. It looked like [Lopez] had nowhere to go, but it all worked out. I think she was much the best. She didn’t have a very good trip,” Motion said.

Bipartisanship, who broke her maiden at Laurel in her second U.S. start, was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Winter Memories at Aqueduct.

“Last time, [Jevian Toledo] was mad at himself because they kind of slowed the race up and he left her with way too much to do,” Motion said. “When she came to me, she was already stakes-placed as a maiden. The day she ran in New York she just walked out of the gate, but she won very impressively at Laurel. She has done things very nicely. She’s nice filly to be around.”

Bipartisanship ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.16 on a firm turf course, providing another Tropical Park Oaks upset victory to her trainer, who saddled Ultra Brat for a 36-1 upset in 2016.

Motion has no immediate plans for Bipartisanship’s next start.

“I haven’t really thought beyond this race,” he said. “I was actually a little worried about running today because I thought it was very competitive.”

R Adios Jersey, Shivaree Win FTBOA Stakes At Tampa Bay Saturday

Florida’s Thoroughbred breeding and racing industry put its best foot forward today at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla., and even fans who didn’t cash a ticket came away feeling like winners after a pair of breathtaking stakes races.

In the fourth race, the fifth edition of the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association City of Ocala Florida Sire Stakes for registered state-bred fillies and mares, unbeaten 3-year-old R Adios Jersey engineered a tour de force, dominating four rivals for an 11-length victory.

Two races later, in the FTBOA Marion County Florida Sire Stakes for registered state-bred males, owners, trainers, and spectators were left gasping as 4-year-old colt Shivaree defended his 2020 Marion County title with a desperate rally in the final strides that deprived 5-year-old gelding R Mercedes Boy of victory by a head.

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Both winners earned $60,000 from the $100,000 purses, but it was the thrills they provided along the way that proved priceless. Shivaree’s winning time of 1:22.58 for the seven-furlong distance was .02 seconds faster than R Adios Jersey, but it should also be mentioned she was geared down late while Shivaree was all-out at the finish.

Jockey Paco Lopez knew R Adios Jersey was virtually flying during the early stages of the City of Ocala. But the 3-year-old filly felt so comfortable beneath him, he decided it would be counter-productive to try to slow her down.

By the time she got to the 1/8-mile pole of the seven-furlong race, her four Florida-bred rivals were vying for second place. R Adios Jersey continued to roll, improving her record to 6 for 6.

An overwhelming favorite in the wagering, R Adios Jersey paid $2.40 to win. She probably would have set a stakes record had not Lopez throttled her back in the final yards, still posting a time of 1:22.60, .20 seconds off Surprise Wedding’s 2017 stakes mark. Starship Nala finished second and Bramble Berry was third.

R Adios Jersey, who won the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks on Aug. 27 in her previous start, is owned by Rich Averill’s Averill Racing, Anthony Mattera’s ATM Racing, and retired major league baseball outfielder Jayson Werth. Georgina Baxter trains the daughter of Adios Charlie-Marion Theatre, by Montbrook, who was bred in the Sunshine State by Ocala Stud and J. Michael O’Farrell, Jr.

First-place money raised R Adios Jersey’s career earnings to $427,400.

“That was kind of easy, but when you have a very nice, fast filly like that, it can look easy. I wanted her to go in :22 (seconds) and :46 (for the quarter-mile and the half), but (:21.79) and (:44.35). … she’s just very fast,” Lopez said. “She wanted to go so hard but I didn’t fight her too much, because she was doing it very comfortable. She was really sharp today and Georgina did a great job getting her ready.”

Lopez has ridden R Adios Jersey in all but one of her starts, including the Charles Town Oaks and the Florida Cup Stonehedge Farm South Sophomore Fillies Stakes here in March.

Bradenton, Fla., resident Averill, who owns Rich Averill Masonry, has built an impressive racing resume since emerging on the scene in 2005 with Florida Oaks and G2 Delaware Oaks winner R Lady Joy. With such prominent stakes winners as Lady’s Island, Pay Any Price, R Angel Katelyn, Paradise Dancer, and G2 Saratoga winner R Free Roll to his credit, Averill keeps proving he’s a major player.

As is customary when he competes in a stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs, he brought close to 100 family members, co-workers, friends, and friends of friends to enjoy R Adios Jersey’s sheer brilliance.

“We wanted this race for the hometown team, and it’s great when the plan comes together,” Averill said. “Every race, she has done better and better and better. She’s 6 for 6 and you can’t ask for more than that. We’re taking things one race at a time with her, and we’ll figure out what’s next.

“I always try to plan a party here with my friends and family and co-workers, and right now it’s a feeling of stress relief because I don’t have to answer all the questions of ‘why didn’t you win.’ It’s fun to get new people into the game, like Anthony, who moved down from New Jersey, and Jayson, and today is a day they will always remember in a good way.”

In the Marion County, Shivaree bettered his record to 5 for 23 the hard way, digging into a deep reserve of desire in the final strides to edge a tiring but game R Mercedes Boy. Samy Camacho rode the winner for breeder-owner Jacks or Better Farm and trainer Ralph Nicks.

Shivaree, the 2020 G1 Curlin Florida Derby runner-up, raised his lifetime bankroll to $546,294.

Camacho said the race unfolded as he expected, with Shivaree making a bold move on the turn for home, until Averill Racing and partners’ R Mercedes Boy kept going inside the 1/8-mile pole under Lopez.

“I was a little worried when that horse gave another kick,” said Camacho, who surprised more than a few people by knowing he’d gotten there just in time. “But my horse kept trying. I rode this horse in two stakes at Gulfstream this year and finished second by a neck and second by a head, so I know him and he did a great job. He tries all the time.”

Nicks, who watched the race from Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla., was worried when Shivaree went wide on the turn for home. But the son of Awesome of Course-Garter Belt, by Anasheed, seemed to thirst for a victory that was his first in 364 days – since last year’s Marion County.

“He’s gritty and he’s very competitive. He makes up for his size in try,” Nicks said. “I knew he would keep grinding and luckily he had room to get there. Very rarely is he not competitive.”

Shivaree paid $4.40 as the wagering favorite. His time was .90 seconds off his 2020 stakes record. Well Defined, the 2019 G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes winner, finished third, a length and a quarter behind R Mercedes Boy.

Four Claiming Crown Wins Net Paco Lopez Jockey Of The Week Title

Paco Lopez started the 2021-2022 Gulfstream Park Championship Meet in style with a five-win day on Saturday including four stakes races in the Claiming Crown Series. Lopez’s achievements earned Jockey of the Week for Nov. 29 through Dec. 5. The honor, which is voted on by a panel of racing experts, is for jockeys who are members of the Jockeys’ Guild, the organization which represents more than 1050 active, retired and permanently disabled jockeys in the United States.

For the 10th consecutive year, Gulfstream Park hosted the Claiming Crown, a series of nine starter stakes races celebrating the blue-collar horses that are the back-bone of racetracks around the country.

Lopez was aboard Blue Steel for trainer Jeff Hiles in the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Kent Sterling Memorial to start the series. The pair took over the lead around the turn and kicked clear to win the race by a half-length in 1:44.61 for 1 1/16 miles.

Lopez also won the next race, his third on the card, the Claiming Crown Distaff Dash for trainer Jane Cibelli aboard Payntdembluesaway. Off as the favorite in the field of 12, Payntdembluesaway scored a four-length victory in :55.31 for the five furlong turf test.

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Trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. gave a leg up to Lopez on Miles Ahead in the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit, a seven furlong race on the dirt. Off as the favorite in the field of 10, Miles Ahead tracked the leaders outside and up the backstretch wearing down his rivals to pull clear by 1 1/4 lengths in 1:21.99.

The Claiming Crown Emerald was the last of the starter series. Riding for trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr., Lopez took Mid Day Image straight to the lead from the inside post, maintained a clear lead at the top of the stretch and went on to post a 1 1/4-length win in 1:39.82 for 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

“Not too bad a day,” said Lopez to the Gulfstream Park Publicity team. “We had five wins and a couple of seconds. My horses ran very well today.”

A multiple graded stakes winner and the 2008 Eclipse Award winner as leading apprentice, Lopez shares the Gulfstream Park track record with seven wins on a single day.

Lopez’s weekly statistics were 35-8-6-3 and total purse earnings of $371,525.

Other nominees for Jockey of the Week were Arnaldo Bocachica with 10 wins, Juan J. Hernandez who won the G1 Starlet, Sonny Leon also with 10 wins and Luis Saez who won the G1 Cigar Mile.

Jockey Paco Lopez Posts Five-Win Day Saturday At Gulfstream Park

Jockey Paco Lopez put the finishing touches on a five-win afternoon by guiding Patricia Generazio homebred Mid Day Image to a front-running 1 ¼-length triumph in the $95,000 Claiming Crown Emerald Saturday at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla.

The 1 1/16-mile Emerald was the last of nine starter stakes worth $810,000 in purses on the 23rd Claiming Crown program, being held at Gulfstream for the 10th consecutive year. For 3-year-olds and up which have started for a claiming price of $25,000 or less in 2020-21, the Emerald was the last of four turf stakes.

Created by the National Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association in partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Claiming Crown rewards and pays tribute to the horses and horsemen that provide the foundation for day-to-day racing programs at tracks around the country.

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Lopez, who shares the Gulfstream track record with seven wins on a single card, notched four of his wins in the Claiming Crown. He had consecutive victories with Joe Di Baggio ($6) in Race 2, Blue Steel ($9.40) in the $75,000 Iron Horse Kent Stirling Memorial, and Payntdembluesaway ($5.60) in the $90,000 Distaff Dash, and captured the $85,000 Rapid Transit with Miles Ahead ($4.60). He also finished second with Xy Speed in the $90,000 Canterbury and Hanalei’s Houdini in the $125,000 Jewel, beaten less than two combined lengths.

“Not too bad a day. We had five wins and a couple seconds,” Lopez said. “My horses ran very well today.”

Mid Day Image entered the Emerald off back-to-back wins at Monmouth Parkin in Oceanport, N.J., the most recent coming Sept. 12, both in gate-to-wire fashion. The 5-year-old Midshipman gelding went straight to the lead from his rail post, posting fractions of :23.39, :47.73, and 1:11.22 chased by Clear Vision with 9-5 favorite Max K.O. looming in the clear in third.

Lopez and Mid Day Image maintained a clear advantage at the top of the stretch and continued on once set down for the drive, with Clear Vision unable to make up ground. Attentive came on late to get third, with Light Fury fourth and Max K.O. fifth. The winning time was 1:39.82 over a firm course.

“[Mid Day Image] has a lot of speed. Max K.O., I was scared of that horse because he’s fast, too. I know that horse,” Lopez said. “I give credit to my horse. He’s very, very good. He put me right there and [trainer Luis] Carvajal [Jr.] told me, ‘Paco, that horse is ready today.’”

Arrest Me Red Goes Gate To Wire In Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship

Lael Stable’s homebred Arrest Me Red made every pole a winning one, staving off an inside rally from Pulsate to prevail in Saturday’s $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship at Aqueduct Racetrack in Ozone Park, N.Y.

Trained by Wesley Ward, Arrest Me Red was scratched out of the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on November 6 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, Calif., which was won by his stablemate Golden Pal. Re-routed to the Big A, the sophomore son of Pioneerof the Nile turned back older company with a game display in the six-furlong outer turf test.

“He did great. He ran very, very professional,” Ward said. “I just feel bad that he had a minor foot issue, otherwise he would have had a good run in the Breeders’ Cup.”

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Arrest Me Red, with Paco Lopez up, marked off splits of :22.69 and :45.60 over the firm going with defending race winner Turned Aside tracking in second and Backtohisroots pressing three-wide in third.

Pulsate, with Manny Franco up, settled into fourth position as Arrest Me Red took the field to the turn with Backtohisroots advancing with purpose. Arrest Me Red opened up a one-length lead at the stretch call and kicked for home with a ground-saving Pulsate trying to surge up the rail.

Lopez kept to task aboard Arrest Me Red and the talented bay held on for a neck win in a final time of 1:09.43. Pulsate completed the exacta by 1 3/4 lengths over the late-running Chewing Gum.

Lopez, aboard Arrest Me Red for the first time, said he was impressed by the colt’s winning efforts in the Mahony in August at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., and the G3 Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y., last out on October 2.

“I saw his last couple races and knew he was fast,” Lopez said. “There wasn’t much speed today. I broke and put my horse in the race and waited for competition. I saw the horse coming to the inside [Pulsate] and I put a little pressure. That horse is a very good horse. Wesley knows what he is doing.”

Franco said Pulsate, who he guided to victory in the Lucky Coin in September at the Spa, was timid when asked to pass along the hedge.

“I had the room to go through, but my horse just hesitated a little bit,” Franco said. “He was coming the last sixteenth of a mile. When I rode him to the wire, he responded to me. He just got a little bit tired. He ran well though.”

Backtohisroots, Value Proposition, Big Package, Maxwell Esquire, Omaha City, and Turned Aside completed the order of finish. Grateful Bred, who broke through the gate ahead of the race, was scratched.

Bred in Kentucky by his owners, Arrest Me Red banked $82,500 in victory while improving his record to five wins from seven starts. He paid $6.50 for a $2 win ticket.

Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card featuring the $150,000 Autumn Days in Race 7, the $200,000 G3 Fall Highweight in Race 8, and the $100,000 Tepin in Race 9. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.

America’s Day at the Races will present daily coverage and analysis of the fall meet at Aqueduct Racetrack on the networks of FOX Sports. For the complete broadcast schedule, visit https://www.nyra.com/aqueduct/racing/tv-schedule.

NYRA Bets is the official wagering platform of Aqueduct Racetrack, and the best way to bet every race of the fall meet. Available to horseplayers nationwide, the NYRA Bets app is available for download today on iOS and Android at www.NYRABets.com.

On Track For Record Year, Paco Lopez To Resume Riding Saturday At Meadowlands – Horse Racing News | Paulick Report

A pair of Chad Brown-trained fillies, both coming off Maiden Special Weight victories on the grass, head a field of 14 for Saturday’s featured $45,000 allowance when racing resumes during the all-turf Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet.

Saturday’s six-race card will also mark the return of leading rider Paco Lopez, who has been sidelined since injuring his left shoulder in a spill on Oct. 15 at the Meadowlands.

Lopez, coming off his eighth riding title at Monmouth Park, sits atop the Meadowlands rider standings with six victories, one more than Isaac Castillo. He is listed to ride in three races, including the Brown-trained Infinite Potential in the one-mile feature race.

With 281 victories on the year, Lopez is two shy of his career best set in 2019.

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A 4-year-old daughter of Invincible Spirit, Infinite Potential will look to become a two-time winner at the Monmouth-at-Meadowlands meet after breaking her maiden on Oct. 1 with a neck victory at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.

Bred in Ireland, Infinite Potential is owned by Klaravich Stables.

Brown has also entered Bleecker Street, a 3-year-old filly who won at first asking on Aug. 21 at Monmouth Park at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. The daughter of Quality Road, owned by Peter M. Brant, has not raced since then.

Two also-eligibles are among the 14 horses entered in the feature race. Overall, 70 horses are entered for the six races.

Saturday’s program is the sixth of the seven-day boutique meet, with the final live Thoroughbred card of the year in New Jersey scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 30.

First race post time is 7 p.m.

UPDATED: Paco Lopez Off Mounts ‘Until Further Notice’ After Injuring Shoulder In Meadowlands Spill

Leading jockey Paco Lopez, coming off his eighth riding title at Monmouth Park, was taken by ambulance to Hackensack Medical Center for X-rays on his left shoulder after his mount in the third race, Voter Protection, broke down entering the first turn of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, according to the first aid staff at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.

Voter Protection, the even-money favorite in the race, was at the back of the pack and clear of other horses at the time of the misstep that sent Lopez headlong into the turf. First Aid personnel said Lopez was “alert and oriented” but was complaining of left shoulder pain.

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Lopez later told track personnel that his shoulder “popped out” but was not broken. He took off his final three mounts on the card.

According to the Equibase chart, Voter Protection was euthanized.

On Saturday morning, Cory Moran, agent for Lopez, posted the following on his Twitter account, indicating the rider was off all mounts until further notice. Lopez had been named on four mounts at Delaware Park on Saturday, two at Belmont Park on Sunday and 18 at Parx Racing on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

A 3-year-old More Than Ready gelding racing for Klaravich Stables Inc. and trained by Chad Brown, Voter Protection was making his seventh career start in the $25,000 maiden claiming race for 3-year-olds and up. He had raced for a claiming tag twice previously, most recently while finishing sixth in a six-furlong turf race for $50,000 maiden claimers at Belmont Park on Sept. 26.

Lopez is second leading jockey by wins in North America in 2021. His 281 wins are just nine behind Irad Ortiz Jr. Lopez is three wins shy of his most productive year in the saddle, and at nearly $10.6 million he is closing in on his best year from an earnings standpoint.

Golden Brown Scores In Joey P. At Monmouth

Golden Brown isn’t just enjoying his golden years: he’s excelling in them.

The 6-year-old gelding notched his sixth state-bred stakes victory and the 10th overall win of his career by surging to a one-length victory over Like What I See in Sunday’s $85,000 Joey P. Handicap at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.

The victory was one of six winners on the 12-race card for jockey Paco Lopez.

Though he had never raced at the five-furlong distance in his previous 30 career starts, while also being absent from the turf since Nov. 9, 2019, Golden Brown overcame both variables to outclass eight other Jersey-breds, clocking home in :56.55 over a firm turf course.

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“Year after year, he just shows up here,” said winning trainer Pat McBurney. “He’s getting up there in age but :56.2 today was really impressive, I thought. He seems to be as good as he has ever been.”

A Grade 3 winner in 2018 (the Kent Stakes at Delaware Park in Wilmington, Del.), the son of Offlee Wild boosted his career earnings to $744,620 with his latest victory. It was also his second state-bred stakes victory of the meet.

“I was worried about him being back on the turf and trying this short but he is a very good sprinter,” said Lopez. “He is one of those horses who can do anything. I wanted to make sure he was in a good position so maybe I rode him a little more aggressively early because of this race being short.

“Every time you ask him, he gives you something. I love this horse. Long, short, dirt, turf … he can handle anything.”

Lopez has an insurmountable lead as he closes in on his eighth riding title at Monmouth Park entering the final weekend of racing starting Friday. His 100 winners are almost double the total of runner-up Isaac Castillo (53).

For Golden Brown, meanwhile, it marked the first time in his lengthy career that he has tried something shorter than 5½ furlongs. His racing debut in 2017 was at 4½ furlongs. He has won short, long, in the slop, on the dirt, and on the turf.

“I would have preferred 5½ furlongs over five but he has been sprinting so well this year we needed to take a shot,” said McBurney. “I literally said to the owners as the horses were going into the gate that I did not realize it had been so long that he has been on the turf. The one long turf race he would normally run in (the Dan Horn) was canceled this year so we didn’t have that to run in and just with him having been a little sick and playing catch up with him I decided to keep him short and in Jersey-bred company. We can’t pass that up.”

Owned by ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, Peter Donnelly, and Natalie Schnoor, Golden Brown was mid-pack in the early stages as I Like What I See blazed early fractions of :22 flat for the opening quarter and :44.96 for the half. Lopez angled Golden Brown outside coming out of the final turn, going three-wide, and he was able to wear down I Like What I See late. It was another four lengths back to the McBurney-trained Lucky Jaime in third.

Golden Brown paid $4.80 to win.

The final weekend of racing for the 55-day Monmouth Park week starts with a nine-race card on Friday. First race post time Friday, Saturday, and closing day on Sunday is 12:15.

Double Thunder Rallies Late To Take Sapling At Monmouth

In a field of 2-year-olds going a mile for the first time, favorite Double Thunder grabbed his third win in four starts with a late rally to win the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Super Saver colt had to go three-wide on the far turn to find running room, giving Monmouth’s leading jockey Paco Lopez another win at the track’s summer meet.

Breaking from post one, Lopez took Double Thunder back early, sitting fifth on the rail behind leaders Under the Gun and Midnight Worker. After fractions of :23.87 for the first quarter and :47.54 for the half mile, Double Thunder was boxed in on the rail and shuffled back to sixth entering the far turn as Midnight Worker caught Under the Gun and moved to the lead, Chancellor Bay tracking him.

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On the turn, Lopez moved his colt to the outside, going three-wide to find racing room as the field entered the stretch. Into the Monmouth straight, Chancellor Bay took over the lead from Midnight Worker as both American Sanctuary and Double Thunder rallied to his outside, both catching Chancellor Bay in the last sixteenth of a mile. Double Thunder was fastest to the wire, sprinting by American Sanctuary to win the Sapling by a half-length.

The race’s final time for the mile over a fast track was 1:38.76. Find this race’s chart here.

Double Thunder paid $4.20, $2.60, and $2.40. American Sanctuary paid $4.80 and $3.40. Midnight Worker paid $3.60.

“In the mornings it took him a little while to figure things out but his gate works showed he was probably going to be okay. I don’t think there was any concern about going two turns for the first time. If you look at all of his races it seems like he breaks a little slow, a step slow, but he always seems to come running. So I didn’t think that would be an issue. We were actually waiting for him to go longer. I’m pleased with the way he ran. He took dirt, he got in trouble by coming in and going out, so it wasn’t the best of trips and he still won,” Anthony Sciametta, assistant to Todd Pletcher, said after the Sapling.

“It was a tough trip for sure. They didn’t make it easy for him. The horse broke well today. I was surprised he broke that well – maybe because he was on the rail. I don’t know. I didn’t want him that close early so I tried to get him to settle but it was a very rough trip,” Paco Lopez told the Monmouth Press Office after the race. “For a while a had nowhere to go. (American Sanctuary) had me pinned in. Finally, he made his move at the eighth pole and I was able to get some room to get my horse running. I think (American Sanctuary) moved a little too early, which was good for me. I had nowhere to go for a while. I was waiting on that horse and he finally went and that helped me.”

Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm and out of the Tapit mare Rattataptap, Double Thunder is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred III. He was purchased by agent Gerard Butler from Taylor Made Sales Agency for $60,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase.

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