Sacred Life draws away to win Oceanport Stakes

Sacred Life scored his first stakes victory in the United States on Sunday at Monmouth Park, overhauling Irish Strait in the stretch and drawing clear to win the $100,000 Oceanport Stakes by four lengths.

French-bred Sacred Life ($4.40), a 5-year-old son of Siyouni, moved to the United States last year to race for Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Bethlehem Stables. The horse began his career in his native France, winning the Group 3 Prix Thomas Bryon in 2017 and placing in multiple group stakes events in 2018.

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He has now won twice from six U.S. outings for trainer Chad Brown, with his other victory coming in an allowance race last fall at Keeneland. Grade 2-placed at both Saratoga and Del Mar, the Oceanport marked his first start since finishing fourth in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational in January.

“I wasn’t worried about the” layoff, assistant trainer Luis Cabrera told Monmouth publicity. “He’s a very classy horse. He knows what to do, and he knows where the wire is. He beat a good field. This was a tough race. But this is a good horse, a very classy horse. He ran the same way in Florida in his last start.

He ran good, considering it was a Grade 1. Then Chad gave him a little break. He really closed nicely this race.”

New Jersey-bred Irish Strait, a graded stakes winner at Monmouth Park, had assumed command of the Oceanport through a half-mile in 48.92 seconds and six furlongs in 1:12.53. He took a two-length lead into the stretch and appeared headed for the win off a long layoff. However, Sacred Life, who had been fifth after six furlongs under Monmouth leading rider Paco Lopez, advanced inside on the far turn before angling out for running room straightening into the lane. He easily collared Irish Strait and stormed home to his final margin, stopping the clock in 1:42.13 for the 1 1/16 miles.

Hawkish rallied from fifth in deep stretch to nose out Irish Strait for second.

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