News & Barn notes

Nownownow Stakes And Smoke Glacken Stakes, Both For 2-Year-Olds, Headline Sunday’s Closing Day Card

September 24, 2021

Two-year-olds will take center stage on Sunday at Monmouth Park with a pair of stakes races on the final day of the 55-day meet, which concludes with a 14-race card.

The $500,000 Nownownow Stakes, scheduled for a mile on the grass, and the $100,000 Smoke Glacken, at six furlongs on the main track, will serve as showcases for 2-year-olds, some of which have designs on the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.

Monmouth Park increased the purse of the Nownownow Stakes from $150,000 to $500,000 in an effort to lure potential Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf hopefuls looking for one last prep.

The Mark Casse-trained Coinage, coming off a win in the Grade 3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga on Sept. 1, heads a 10-horse field in the Nownownow Stakes, which includes first-out winner Dakota Gold. The New York-bred Dakota Gold won his debut for trainer Danny Gargan by 4½ lengths against open Maiden Special Weight company on Sept. 2 at Saratoga.

Midnight Chrome, Grooms All Bizness and There Are No Words come into the race after breaking their maiden on the grass at Monmouth Park in their last start.

The Butch Reid-trained Practical Coach, a first-out winner at Parx on Aug. 25 at six furlongs, heads a field of eight 2-year-olds for the Smoke Glacken Stakes. Swift Tap, a handy debut winner at Monmouth Park on Aug. 11 before finishing fifth in the $200,000 Sapling Stakes, will add blinkers for this start for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.

The races for top jockey, trainer and owner all appear to have been decided, with Paco Lopez already clinching his eighth riding title with 100 victories for the meet entering the final three-day weekend of racing. Only Joe Bravo, with 13, has won more riding titles at Monmouth Park.

Wayne Potts enters the final three days of live racing with a 10-win lead (36 to 26) over Kelly Breen in the trainers’ race, while Colts Neck Stables LLC has a four-win lead over Mr. Amore Stable (12 to 8) in the quest for top owner honors.