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Barn Notes

Pletcher Has Trio in Saturday's Long Branch Stakes

Posted Thursday, Jul 7, 2016

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Todd Pletcher will send out three of the seven 3-year-olds that will enter the starting gate for Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth Park’s final prep race for the Grade 1 betfair.com Haskell Invitational on July 31.

            “All three have been training well here,” said Anthony Sciametta, assistant to Pletcher. “They will gallop easy today (Thursday) to get ready for Saturday.”

            Uncle Vinny, owned by Starlight Racing, is coming off a second place finish, behind fellow Long Branch starter Tiz Long Gone, in a $47,000 allowance event at Monmouth on May 30.

The 3-year-old colt by Uncle Mo out of the Untuttable mare Arealhotlover placed in two graded stakes in his 2-year-old season, a second place finish in the Grade 3 Sanford and a third place finish in the Grade 1 Hopeful, both at Saratoga.

            Uncle Vinny has worked three times since his last start, all at Monmouth. The latest came on July 1 where he went four furlongs in :50 4/5 on the main track.

            Breaking to the outside of Uncle Vinny will be Azar. The 3-year-old Pletcher trainee by Scat Daddy out of the Mineshaft mare Miss Ocean City is making only his second career start on dirt. In that lone start, Azar stalked the early pace before getting up in time to score a three quarters of a length victory in a $75,000 allowance optional claiming event at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 28.

Azar is exiting an eighth place finish by just two and a quarter lengths in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont on June 4 going a mile and an eighth on the turf.

            Owned by Alto Racing LLC, Azar was shipped to Monmouth after his last start and worked twice over the main track with the most recent being on July 3 where he went four furlongs in :49.

            Azar broke his maiden with a win in Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes on Sept. 2 at Saratoga before running in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.

            Rounding out the trio of Pletcher entries is Unbridled Daddy. The 3-year-old colt by Scat Daddy out of the Essence of Dubai mare Unbridled Essence is coming out of the Grade 3 Penn Mile at Penn National on June 4, where he finished seventh behind Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf champion Catch a Glimpse.

            Owned by Red Oak Stable, Unbridled Daddy is making his first career start on dirt in the Long Branch. All seven of his previous starts had been over the turf.

            Unbridled Daddy last found the winners circle in a $75,000 allowance optional claiming event on Mar. 19 at Gulfstream Park when he got bumped at the break and spotted the field over five lengths before storming home to four length win.

            Unbridled Daddy has worked three times over the Monmouth Park main track, with the most recent coming on July 3, where he went four furlongs in :49 2/5.

            The other four horses entering the gate with Pletcher’s trio are all coming off wins in either allowance or optional claiming company.

            The Long Branch, at a mile and sixteenth, is set as race 9 on Saturday’s 10-race card. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post scheduled for 12:50 p.m. 

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