Barn Notes

Just Call Kenny to Go Long in Long Branch

Posted Thursday, Jul 3, 2014

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With only three weeks until the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational, preparations are kicking into high gear with this Saturday’s Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth’s last major prep race for the summer’s centerpiece. Trainer Pat McBurney will send Just Call Kenny in search of his second straight stakes victory and third win in only his fourth career race.

            “He’s been training fantastic,” said McBurney. “He’s doing everything we’re asking of him and I feel like he’s on top of his game right now.”

            A 3-year-old colt by Jump Start out of the Green Dancer mare Green Jeans, Just Call Kenny was victorious in his last race, the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 4, where he sprinted six furlongs in 1:10 2/5, besting the field by just over two lengths. Just Call Kenny will stretch out in the Long Branch, which is set for a mile and a sixteenth along Monmouth’s main track.

“He’s just got an explosive turn of foot in him for a big old horse,” McBurney said. “His pedigree says long and that’s what we’re really hoping, that he’ll take the two turns and still be able to give us that kind of a kick. He’s bred to go long and he’s given every indication that he’ll do well with it. He listens to our rider and waits for the rider to tell him go so I think he’s going to love the distance.”

            Racing in the colors of ABL Stable, Bossone, Cahill, Donnely, and PHF, Just Call Kenny will face tough competition in search of the winner’s share of the $100,000 purse. Among the competitors are stakes winners Meadowood and Tiz’naz, as well as Todd Pletcher’s Misconnect, the 5/2 morning line favorite. Just Call Kenny will break from post-seven in a field of eight other 3-year-olds.

            “First time back after a long off a layoff normally a horse would be kind of fresh,” McBurney said, “but he listens to the rider really well so we’ll just have to leave it in Julian’s (jockey Pimentel) hands. As long as he’s going along comfortably in the first part we’ll see if he can kick in. We would have liked to see a little more speed in there but there are a couple that look like they’ll go to the front.”

            Although Just Call Kenny is just getting started in his racing career, McBurney has high hopes for his young horse.   

            “For ABL Stable and all the partners being New Jersey guys obviously the Haskell is the jewel of our summer,” McBurney said, “so we’d love to be invited to that.”

            The Long Branch is scheduled as race 11 on Saturday’s 12-race card.

 


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