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Barn Notes

Sunny Ridge Adds More Local Flair to Betfair.com Haskell Field

Posted Friday, Jul 22, 2016

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Sunny Ridge calls the Monmouth Park backstretch his home and will stay home for his next start in Monmouth’s marquee event, the Grade 1, $1 million betfair.com Haskell Invitational on July 31.


            The 3-year-old gelding by Holy Bull out of the Songandaprayer mare Lignum Vitae exits the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on March 5 where he made a strong move on the far turn before finishing fourth by three lengths behind then undefeated Shagaf.


            Owned by Dennis Drazin, Sunny Ridge latest trip to the winners circle came in the Grade 3 Withers over the Aqueduct inner track on Jan. 30. He sat second for most of the race that day before grabbing the lead at the top of the stretch and holding on for a three quarters of a length victory.


            Sunny Ridge has worked four times since his last outing over three and a half months ago. The most recent came on July 21 over the Monmouth main track where he went five furlongs in 1:02 4/5.


            “I don’t plan on working anymore in the lead up to the race,” said trainer Jason Servis. “He will have open gallops and jogs the rest of the way.”


            Sunny Ridge is a perfect 2-for-2 over the Monmouth Park dirt, both races coming as a 2-year-old. He broke his maiden at first asking and came back later in the meet to take the Sapling Stakes in late-charging fashion with Nik Juarez aboard for both wins.


            Nik Juarez gets the call once again in the Haskell.


             Sunny Ridge isn’t the only locally based horse to run in this year’s betfair.com Haskell. Eddie Plesa Jr. will send out Awesome Slew, who finished third in his most recent outing, his first around two turns, in the Grade 3 Pegasus. He is 2-for-3 lifetime on the Monmouth main track.


            Three Kentucky Derby runners have confirmed their next start will be in the Haskell including champion Nyquist, for trainer Doug O’Neill, who will make his first start since finishing third in the Preakness.


            Gun Runner, conditioned by Steve Asmussen, finished third in the Derby and is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs.


            Multiple Grade 1 winner Brody’s Cause comes in from the barn of Dale Romans. Brody’s Cause won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity as a 2-year-old and the Grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass, both at Keeneland, en route to starts in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.


            Bob Baffert will look for his record ninth win in the Haskell with American Freedom, who is coming off a win in the Grade 3 Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows.


            The betfair.com Haskell Invitational is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” event for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.


            The Haskell’s scheduled post time is 5:49 p.m. and will be telecast live on NBC.  The entire Haskell Day card will be broadcast live on TVG.


            Gates will open early on Haskell Day at 10 a.m. with first race scheduled for 12 noon.


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