A little past 5 p.m. this
Sunday, Kathy Mongeon will know just how big a bargain she got when she claimed
Don’s Peach for $6,250 at Gulfstream
Park in February.
She already knows the 5-year-old mare was a steal at the
price, but after the running of the $60,000 Open Mind Handicap for New
Jersey-bred fillies and mares, she may have one of the best bargains of all
time in her barn.
Don’s Peach, who broke her maiden at Monmouth in 2011 and
has four seconds here in her career, raced for a $7,500 claiming tag at Parx
last fall, and then won for a $10,000 tag at Gulfstream in January. When she
was dropped in for $6,250 a month later, Mongeon decided to take a chance and
claim the mare.
“She was a New Jersey-bred, and she had won at Monmouth,
so I was willing to take a chance with her,” Mongeon said. “Since she came into
my program, she has just blossomed. Her coat is black and shiny, and she’s a
After six weeks in Mongeon’s care, Don’s Peach was sent
out in a starter handicap at Gulfstream. She ran a big race, had the lead
briefly and was a clear second behind the hard-knocking Capitalism at Risk.
The mare arrived at Monmouth in late April with the
Mongeon string and proceeded to turn in two sharp breezes. Those works led to
her being sent off the 11-10 favorite in a state-bred “non-winners of one other
than” allowance race here on May 18. Don’s Peach just toyed with her foes (the
chart comment reads “wrapped up late”) en route to a two and a quarter-length
two races put Mongeon on the plus side of her investment. Now Don’s Peach returns
in the Open Mind – her first try ever in a stakes race – and she’s likely to be
one of the favorites in the six-furlong event.
“She’s been doing so well here I decided to give her a
chance,” Mongeon said. “Some of the other fillies in the stake are coming off
layoffs, so that should help. And Elba, who
was fourth behind us that last race, came back to win an allowance race here
Paco Lopez, battling for leadership among Monmouth
jockeys, returns in the irons Sunday as Don’s Peach gets in the handicap with
Geeky Gorgeous, who hasn’t raced since last September, is
the highweight at 125 pounds. Little Stitch, sixth in the Red Cross Stakes in
her 2013 debut, carries 121.