Finish Line Farms’ Just a Lion gave trainer Juan Serey an extra celebration following his victory in Monmouth Park’s sixth race on Sunday. After crossing the wire a length in front of Flirtatious Smile, Just a Lion provided Serey with his 1,000th career win as a trainer.
“It represents a lot of hard work,” said a jubilant Serey from the Monmouth Park winner’s circle. “That’s really what this means to me. It’s very exciting and nice to have won my 1,000th race. It’s taken a long time and a lot of long, long days.”
A 51-year-old native of Santiago, Chile, Serey moved to the United States in the early 1980’s and galloped horses for Oscar and Laz Barrera, John Tammaro and Frank Martin, before taking out his trainer’s license in 1991.
Serey won a record five consecutive training titles at Monmouth Park from 1995 through 1999. In addition, he was a two-time top conditioner at the Meadowlands and captured the 1996 trainer’s title at Aqueduct. After spending several years working on a farm in upstate New York, Serey returned to training in 2005.
Just a Lion stepped the six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:11 flat and paid $12, $5.80 and $4. Flirtatious Smile completed $132.20 exacta and returned $8.60 to place and $5.80 to show. It was another length a quarter back to Our Royal Affair, who paid $3.20 to show.
Entered for a $9,000 claiming price, Just a Lion recorded his fourth win in 15 starts this season, all for Serey.