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Favorite Middleburg Gives Backers Anxious Moments In Cliff Hanger; Firestone Runners Run One-Two In Grade 3 Turf Test

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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It was a banner afternoon for Mr. & Mrs. Bertram R. Firestone as their runners ran one-two in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday with even-money favorite Middleburg besting Special Envoy by a neck at the wire.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Middleburg sat behind the early speed of Inchcape for most of the firm mile and an eighth on turf.  Inside the eighth pole, Middleburg finally found room and came storming home to stop the timer in 1:48 2/5.  The winner paid $4, $2.80 and $2.20 and topped the $36.20 all-Firestone exacta.  Special Envoy, conditioned by Arnaud Delacour, paid $8.20 to place and $4.80 to show.  It was another neck back to Lochte, who paid $3.80 to show.

“I talked to Christophe (trainer Clement) this morning and he said win or lose to ride a patient race and sit the pocket, and that’s exactly what I did,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo.  “We were confident he had the best turn of foot of any horse in the race, and when you ride for Christophe, you always ride with confidence.  I was able to sit patient and just wait for a seam to open and when it did he ran past those other horses in three or four jumps.”

A 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid from the Spectrum (IRE) mare Rum Charger (IRE), Middleburg now sports a record of 5-7-3 from 16 starts and earnings of $349,360.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Friday, Aug. 28 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m.  As always, the racetrack is open seven days a week for simulcasting from across the country and aground the globe.