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Barn Notes

Field Of Seven Set To Line Up In Saturday's Long Branch Stakes

Posted Friday, Jul 10, 2015

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Saturday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes, going a mile and a sixteenth on the main track, is the final opportunity for horses to receive invitations to Monmouth Park’s marquee event - the $1 million William Hill Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2. Traditionally, the top two finishers of the Long Branch receive invites to the Haskell, which will be headlined this year by Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

            Last year’s one-two in the Long Branch, Irish You Well and Just Call Kenny, competed in the 2014 Haskell with the pair finishing fourth and sixth, respectively, behind winner Bayern.

            Among those trying to take the Long Branch title is Souper Colossal, who goes back the Monmouth Park dirt, where he’s a perfect three-for-three over the surface in his career.

            “He came out of his last race really well,” said trainer Eddie Plesa Jr., who conditions the horse for Live Oak Plantation. “This race was the plan all along. We used the turf to prep him for this. Last time out, speed killed.”

            The 3-year-old colt by War Front out of the Kingmambo mare Soaring Emotions was last seen in the Select Stakes earlier in the meet going five and a half furlongs on the turf. Eventual winner Fast Flying Rumor sprung from the gate right away and Souper Colossal was forced to come from off the pace, but couldn’t close in time and had to settle for second by a length and a quarter.

            “He came out of the race just like we wanted to see,” said Plesa. “He has been training well since that race.”

            Souper Colossal has worked twice since the Select, both over the Monmouth Park main track. His latest was on July 4, where he went five furlongs in 1:01, which was the second fastest time by the 16 horses that went five furlongs on that day.

            “I expect him to be sitting just off the pace early on,” said Plesa.

            Souper Colossal’s main competition looks to come from Todd Pletcher trainee Stanford, who has finished second in his last three starts including in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and the Easy Goer to rising 3-year-old Japan on the Belmont Stakes undercard.

            Paco Lopez is back aboard Souper Colossal after riding him to victory in last year’s Tyro and Sapling. The Long Branch will be race 11 on Saturday’s 12-race card. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post at 12:50 p.m.


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