OCEANPORT, N.J. – Frank
Calabrese’s Romacaca looked powerful winning the $200,000 Taylor Made
Matchmaker Stakes (G3), and Bruno Schickedanz’s Yummy With Butter turned the
tables on an old rival in the $200,000 Oceanport Stakes (G3), the major events
on the Haskell undercard at Monmouth Park Sunday.
Romacaca, trained by Nick Canani and
ridden by E.T. Baird, tracked a quick pace set by Marquet Madness and then
asserted herself in midstretch to open a daylight lead on her pursuers. The
5-year-old mare scored by a length and a quarter and stopped the timer in a
very fast 1:46.54 for a mile and an eighth on firm turf, just a few ticks off
the course record of 1:46.39.
Song was up for second, a neck in front of the fast-closing Perfect Shirl. C.S.
Silk, the 5-2 favorite in the field of 10 fillies and mares, held the lead
briefly, but faded to be last.
Romacaca paid $13.20, $5.80 and
$4.40 for the victory and topped the $67.20 exacta with Ravi’s
Song, who returned $4.80 and $3.80. Perfect Shirl was $4.60 to show.
This was the fifth straight victory
for Romacaca, who took Monmouth’s Miss Liberty Stakes last out.
“She’s a super nice filly to have,”
Canani said. “She raced great.”
Baird said, “She broke really well.
There were some others in there who had speed, so I just let her come out
running. She relaxed well enough to have something left in the end.”
Yummy With Butter and Sayif renewed
their rivalry in the Oceanport, setting all the pace from gate to wire. In the
Battlefield Stakes last time they met, Sayif held the lead to the wire, but
this time Yummy With Butter went by in deep stretch to score by a length and a
quarter. Sayif was second by a half-length over Baryshnikov, the 9-5 favorite
in the field of seven.
Trained by Yvon Belsoeur and ridden
by Paco Lopez, Yummy With Butter paid $20.20, $8.40 and $3.80 across the board
and topped a $136 exacta after stepping the mile and a sixteenth of firm turf
in 1:40 1/5.
Sayif, off at 10-1, paid $10.40 and
$5.40 and Baryshnikov paid $2.80 to show.
“I told Paco let’s not be late this
time,” Belsoeur said. “Last time, we got caught by a horse on the lead that got
away from us. We were just a little late.”
“We just couldn’t get to that horse
(Sayif) last time,” Lopez said, “but that race was at a mile. Today there was
extra distance. Turning for home, he was able to outkick the leader and get the
Yummy With Butter, a 7-year-old son
of Silvador who races for Bruno Schickedanz, was scoring his first victory
since 2009. The Ontario-bred has now won six of 31 lifetime starts.
“He was training like a Grade 1
horse,” Belsoeur said, and this was a Grade 3 race so I was pretty confident.
We’ll look at the Cliff Hanger (Grade 3, Sept. 4).”
Force Freeze put on a show in the
$100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes as he took command in the stretch and scored by a
length and a quarter in 1:07.77 for the six furlongs, just missing the track
Trained by Peter Walder, Force
Freeze gave jockey Paco Lopez his fourth winner of the day in the Teddy Drone,
which went as the 10th race.
Force Freeze, making his U.S. debut for Saeed Naser al Romaithi after
racing in Dubai,
was overlooked in the wagering and paid $35, $11.80 and $7 across the board. He
topped a $250 exacta with Jersey
Town, who was up for
second over Ravalo. Irrefutable, the 8-5 favorite, faded out of the money.
paid $5.40 and $3.80, and Ravalo returned $8.60 to show.
Irrefutable and Force Freeze set a
torrid pace, with a quarter in :21 3/5 and a half-mile in :43 3/5. Force Freeze
hit another gear in deep stretch to near the track record of 1:07.47 set by
Idiot Proof in 2007.
“I’ve had the horse since the end of
May,” Walder said. “We took our time with him. This horse has been working
lights out. He exudes class”
Force Freeze, a 6-year-old by Forest
Camp, was winning his seventh race in 19 career starts.
In the $100,000 Regret Stakes for
fillies and mares, Magical Feeling closed with a dramatic rush to split horses in
deep stretch for a head victory over Bronx City Girl.
The winner, trained by Allen Iwinski
and ridden by Roberto Alvarado Jr., stopped the timer in 1:08 3/5 for the six
furlongs and paid $17, $9.20 and $5.60 across the board as one of the outsiders
in the field of eight.
Bronx City Girl, who took the lead
in deep stretch, held second and completed the $142.80 exacta, paying $10.20
and $5.80 to place and show. Love That Dance, who was in contention until
fading near the wire, finished third and paid $6 to show. Hour Glass, the 2-1
favorite, was fourth.
This was the third straight victory
and first stakes score for Magical Feeling, a 5-year-old daughter of Empire
Maker who races for Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds. It was her ninth victory in 16
“Robby gave her a great ride,”
Iwinski said. “He got through all the holes. I’m so emotional talking about
this filly. There’s nothing you can say about a horse that gives her all every
In the $100,000 Jersey Derby for
3-year-olds on the turf, Breathless Storm looked the part of the favorite as he
stalked the early pace and then took command in midstretch, drawing off to win
by nearly two lengths.
The son of Storm Cat, trained by
Kiaran McLaughlin and confidently ridden by Paco Lopez, stopped the timer in
1:41 flat for the mile and a sixteenth over a firm course and paid $4.60, $3
and $2.40 across the board as the 13-10 favorite in the field of eight.
Beachcombing rallied to be second,
nearly three lengths in front of Moonhanger, who had set much of the pace.
Beachcombing paid $3.80 and $3 and completed the $17.20 exacta. Moonhanger was
$4 to show.
It was the second straight win over
the Monmouth turf for Breathless Storm, and the first stakes victory for the
Kentucky-bred, who has now won three of seven lifetime starts for owner Mrs.
“I was close to the early lead,”
Lopez said. “The pace was not that quick. He took the lead on his own and I
didn’t really ask him until the 1/16th pole. He was pretty
Soaring Empire proved another prompt
favorite in the $100,000 Majestic Light Stakes as he launched his bid from last
rounding the far turn, and then wore down Kensei late to score by nearly a
Cam Gambolati trains Soaring Empire,
an Empire Maker colt who finished second to Kensei in the Salvator Mile (G3)
here last out. The winner paid $4, $2.40 and $2.10 as favorite in the field of
six and topped the $10.80 exacta.
Kensei, the second choice, paid
$3.20 and $2.80 and Cactus Charlie, longest price on the board at 30-1, grabbed
third to pay $4.
“I just think he’s really a good
horse,” Gambolati said. “He’s really matured this year.”
This was the third win at Monmouth
for Soaring Empire, who races for the partnership of Ol Memorial Stable &
The parade of favorites continued in
the $100,000 Lady’s Secret Stakes as Quiet Giant came roaring down the stretch
to score by nearly seven lengths as the 6-5 choice.
The Todd Pletcher trainee gave
Leparoux a second stakes score on the day as she stepped the mile and a
sixteenth in 1:41 2/5 and paid $4.40, $3.20 and $2.80 across the board.
Lacie Slew, a 9-1 chance, was up
late for second by a neck over Debonair Darling and paid $7 and $5.40 to
complete the $35.60 exacta. Debonair Darling paid $4 to show.
“She won really easy,” Leparoux
said. “It was nice. I knew I was far in front because I was watching on the
infield TV. That’s nice when you can do that.”
It was the third win of the year in
five starts for Quiet Giant, a 4-year-old daughter of Giant’s
Causeway who races for the Estate of Edward P. Evans.
Of course it's easy to say after the race, but both the crowd, and myself for sure, were both caught 'sleeping' when it came to Force Freeze in The Teddy Drone Stakes.He was the typical unknown stranger in the field, and was easily overlooked, especially with the presence of the some of the more fanciful horses in the race. Obviously a nice horse and sent here for a reason. Interesting too in that he did not run on Lasix either. Usually I view that as being a disadvantage, but that's not always the case. Just want a level playing field so to speak. And he had a bullet work on view for all to see. Plus this is Peter Walder we are talking about here and we all know how capable he is in preparing a horse. In fact, and sort of funny, but I kept passing Peter on the escalators during the day, and a few times in the Paddock before the race. (I was with the connections of Rule By Night) . Usually I take notice of such 'events', and Peter looked very confident. Didn't seem concerned at all. Great job Pete.