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