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Barn Notes

Bradester Goes Wire-to-Wire To Capture Monmouth Cup; Got Lucky Takes Lady's Secret, Oceanport To Heart to Heart

Posted Sunday, Aug 2, 2015

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Bradester was the star of the Haskell Day undercard as he took the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup in front-running fashion. The Grade 3 Winstar Matchmaker Stakes went to the fast-closing Casual Smile, and the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes on turf was won by free-wheeling Heart to Heart.

In the day’s two listed stakes, jockey Paco Lopez won the Lady’s Secret Stakes aboard Got Lucky, and then took the Teddy Drone Stakes aboard Wildcat Red.

            In the $200,000 Monmouth Cup, Joseph Sutton’s Bradester flashed his speed for all to see as he made the mile and a sixteenth event his second straight front-running victory at Monmouth Park. He had dominated the Grade 3 Salvator Mile on July 5, winning by two lengths.

            The 5-year-old son of Lion Heart took the track at the start under Corey Lanerie and then showed why he was the 4-5 favorite as he made all the running to win by nearly three lengths, stopping the timer in 1:42 2/5. Valid, who moved into striking position at the top of the stretch, was no match for the winner, but held second by nearly five lengths over Freestyler.

            The Eddie Kenneally-trained Bradester was installed the odds-on favorite after the late scratch of Protonico, and paid $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10 across the board. He topped a $9.40 exacta with Valid, who returned $3.40 and $2.60. Freestyler paid $3.20 to show. Valid had won the Monmouth Cup last year.

            There was no drama to this running of the stakes. Lanerie broke Bradester smoothly, and the horse gained the lead early on. Lanerie kept him under wraps down the backstretch, then let him roll in the stretch as he left Valid in his wake.

            “He loves Monmouth,” Kenneally said. “The scratch of Protonico affected the race for everyone, and certainly not having him in there made it easier for everybody.

            “But our horse scored a decisive victory. He relaxed on the front end and had a lot left for the stretch drive.”

            “He went right to the front and made my job easy,” said Lanerie. “He grabbed the bit and pulled me right to the front. I just had to nurse him along and keep him quiet so I would have something to finish.”

In the $150,000 Oceanport Stakes (G3) on the grass, Terry Hamilton’s Heart to Heart followed a winning script – go to the front and improve your position. The 4-year-old by English Channel, who ran second in the Red Bank here in May, did just that as he led every step of the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf to score by a length and a half over Hothersal, stopping the timer in 1:40 3/5.

With Victor Espinoza aboard, Heart to Heart paid $6.60, $4.20 and $3.20 as second choice in the field of seven. Hothersal completed the $72.60 exacta, returning $9.20 and $4.80. Cage Fighter was third, paying $3.60.

In the $150,000 Winstar Matchmaker Stakes, William S. Farish’s Casual Smile, a 9-1 chance, closed with a bold move between horses to upset the Grade 3 event for fillies and mares a by a length and a quarter under a brilliant ride by Abel Castellano Jr.

I’m Already Sexy, the even-money favorite in the field of eight, finished second, three-quarters of a length before Testa Rossi, the 5-2 second choice.

Casual Smile, a 4-year-old daughter of Sea the Stars trained by Chad Brown, stopped the timer in 1:47 flat for the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf. She paid $21.20, $6.80 and $3.40 across the board and topped a $68.80 exacta with I’m Already Sexy, who returned $3.20 and $2.20. Testa Rossi, also trained by Brown, paid $2.60 to show.

Casual Smile was still several lengths off the leaders in mid-stretch when Castellano asked for speed. The filly responded with a burst, zipping between horses to open daylight at the wire.

“I had a lot of confidence going into the stretch with a lot of horse left,” Castellano said. “I found a very small hole between horses to get through and had a lot of faith in my horse that she would get through.”

This was the first graded stakes victory for Casual Smile, and her third straight win since breaking her maiden at Monmouth on May 24.

In the $100,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes, a listed race, Got Lucky rolled through the stretch from off the pace to win by four and a half widening lengths over Power of Snunner, who had made most of the pace in the mile and a sixteenth event.

Got Lucky, owned by P.J. Steinberg & Hill ‘n Dale Equine, is trained by Todd Pletcher and was ridden by Paco Lopez. The 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy raced the distance over a fast main track in 1:40 1/5 and paid $3, $2.10 and $2.10 as the favorite in the field of five fillies and mares. Power of Snunner completed the $8 exacta, paying $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Montana Native was third, returning $3 to show.

“The race went perfect,” jockey Lopez said. “I could tell she really wanted to go at the top of the stretch, and when I asked her, she just took off.”

In the listed $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes, Paco Lopez made it a double when he drove Wildcat Red between horses in deep stretch to score by a head. Wildcat Red, trained by Jose Garoffalo, stopped the timer in 1:09 flat for six furlongs and paid $9.40, $4.80 and $3.80 across as third choice in the field of eight.

Stallwalkin’ Dude, who also rallied late, fell a head short of the win, but finished a nose before Delta Bluesman, who had made all the pace. Stallwalkin’ Dude paid $4.20 and $3.20 and completed the $43 exacta. Delta Bluesman paid $5.80 to show.

Honors Stable Corp. owns Wildcat Red, a 4-year-old by D’Wildcat who ran third behind Bayern in last year’s Haskell Invitational.


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