Data Link may very
well go postward as the favorite in the field of eight entered for Sunday’s
Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes and his connections expect that the Stuart
Janney III homebred will not disappoint.
“He’s primed and ready to go. He
should really like that turf course and the firm footing,” said assistant Bobby
Medina, who will accompany trainer Shug McGaughey when the 4-year-old son of
War Front makes the short trip from their base at Belmont Park
for the one mile and one eighth race on the grass at Monmouth.
Data Link has won five of his nine
career starts on the turf and his resume includes a determined win in the Grade
1 $300,000 Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland on April 13. Last out, he finished
fifth in the Grade 1 $500,000 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs
on the Kentucky Derby undercard, but he had legitimate excuses.
“Obviously, his last race wasn’t
what we had hoped for,” said Medina.
“He had a lot of trouble and got squeezed back and then had to be steadied. He
didn’t like the going either. The turf was good and he likes it firmer. But he
bounced out of that effort in good shape and has been training really well
since we got him back home.”
Medina said that Data Link missed much of his
3-year-old year campaign after injuring a cannon bone in his hind leg in a work
out while preparing for the 2011 Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. The horse’s
running lines show that he performs at his peak when coming in fresh from a
layoff and it will be five weeks since he last ran.
In the Monmouth Stakes, Data Link
will get to renew his competition with fellow grass specialist and Grade 1 winner
Get Stormy. The former beat the latter in the Maker’s 46 Mile and then Get
Stormy finished ninth in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic. This will also be
Get Stormy’s first effort since that race at Churchill Downs.
“These two are developing a bit of a
said. “Get Stormy is a pretty good horse with a lot of ability and we have a
lot of respect for him. Our horse has always been highly thought of as well.”
John Velasquez will take over the
mount on Data Link, who has been ridden by Alex Solis in his last nine starts.
Eddie Castro replaces Ramon Dominguez on Get Stormy, who was third in the 2011
edition of this race.
“Get Stormy is coming up to the race
in great shape and he seems to enjoy the Monmouth turf course,” said trainer
Tom Bush when reached by phone. “He’s run well on it in the past and we’re
looking forward to coming back to Monmouth.”