A field of 10 three-year-olds was entered for Saturday’s $150,000 Long Branch Stakes, the final local prep for the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, July 31.
David Cottle and Smart Angle LLP’s Rush Now enters the Long Branch off a 4 ½-length win in Monmouth’s Spend a Buck Stakes on May 22. The Tiznow colt will break from post position No. 2 beneath Joe Bravo.
Locally stabled trainer Kelly John Breen, who won last month’s Belmont Stakes (G1) with Ruler on Ice and Pegasus (G3) with Pants on Fire, will send out a pair of runners in Saturday’s Long Branch, both owned by George and Lori Hall.
Nacho Saint is a Grade 2-placed son of Yes It’s True who exits a third-place finish in the $400,000 Red Legend Stakes at Charles Town, while Galaxy Kat was a winner of an entry-level allowance race on June 21 at Parx last out.
Owner Mill House LLC and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who teamed to win last year’s Long Branch with eventual Haskell runner-up Trappe Shot, will send out Rattlesnake Bridge in this year’s running.
The 3-year-old son of Tapit exits a fourth-place finish two back in Aqueduct’s Jerome (G2) and most recently was second in a first-level allowance race in New York on Belmont Stakes Day.
“He arrived Wednesday (June 29) and worked Saturday (July 2),” said McLaughlin’s assistant trainer Andrew St. Lawrence. “He’s one happy horse. He’s looking around, taking everything in. He’s really smart.”
Rattlesnake Bridge began his career this winter down at Gulfstream Park where he won his debut despite racing greenly and then finished second behind reigning 2-year-old champion Uncle Mo in the Timely Writer Stakes.
“He’s seemed to have really matured since then,” St. Lawrence said. “His last work was about as professional a work as you could have. He’s a really neat horse to have in the barn.”
Just three weeks out from Monmouth Park’s signature event, Saturday’s Long Branch winner will hope to follow in the footsteps of Lion Heart in 2004 who remains the only horse to complete the Long Branch/Haskell Invitational double.
Tickets for the July 31 Haskell are going fast but remain available by calling the reserved ticket booth at 732-571-5563 any live racing day from 12-4pm or by visiting www.ticketmaster.com
The complete field, with rider assignments, for the 77th running of the Long Branch Stakes:
a – Rush Now and All of the Above race as an entry, both trained by Anthony Dutrow