Don’s Peach goes from claimer to stakes winner in Open Mind

Don’s Peach pulled off a mild upset Sunday, beating 1-2 favorite Geeky Gorgeous in the $61,800 Open Mind Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.

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Paco LopezDon’s Peach was a shrewd claim this winter by trainer Kathy Mongeon, who snared the 5-year-old mare for a mere $6,250 at Gulfstream Park. The acquisition has produced two wins and a second in three starts, including Sunday’s stakes victory.

Don’s Peach and jockey Paco Lopez grabbed the lead shortly after the break, with Geeky Gorgeous a menacing third. Geeky Gorgeous was well backed, and well positioned in the field, after scratching out of the John J. Reilly Handicap against the statebred boys here Saturday to run in this spot.

Elvis Trujillo asked Geeky Gorgeous to pick up the pace entering the turn, and she responded. It had all the makings of a two-horse battle until Geeky Gorgeous started drifting extremely wide in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Perhaps it was the layoff, not having run since late September. Maybe it was the 125-pound impost, the highweight in the field and the most in her career. Whatever the reason, Geeky Gorgeous didn’t look like the filly who was 4-2-0 in six starts here last summer.

Meanwhile, down on the rail, Don’s Peach was still humming along, with Mongeon rooting hard.

“It’s a dream come true,” Mongeon said of winning a stakes with a claimer. “You see everybody else do it. It feels good to do it ourselves.”

Don’s Peach held off Geeky Gorgeous by three-quarters of a length, paying $9.20 as the third choice in the wagering.

The time was 1:09.68 for six furlongs on the fast track.

Little Stitch, the slight 7-2 second choice over Don’s Peach, was third. Sidney Anne was fourth, followed by Y to Kat, Easter Blossom, and Fabs.

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