News & Barn notes

Always Sunshine Returns To Stakes Action In Decathlon

June 10, 2017

Chance Encounter 391x242


Always Sunshine returns to Monmouth Park for the second time this season and his first appearance against stakes company in 2017 when he faces five rivals in Sunday’s $60,000 Decathlon Stakes, going six furlongs on the main track. 

“He’s been doing super,” said trainer Edward Allard, who conditions the horse for Stonehedge LLC. “I wanted to get an allowance race in him to get confidence and he ran really well. I know he’s coming back in two weeks, but he’s been sharp and feeling good since the race. We’re looking forward to tomorrow.” 

The 5-year-old horse by West Acre made his seasonal debut a winning one at Monmouth Park, taking an allowance optional claiming event on May 29 by 4 ¼ lengths over a sloppy track. Frankie Pennington was aboard that day and will get the call again Sunday. 

Always Sunshine became a graded stakes winner when he took the Grade 3 Maryland Sprint Handicap on last year’s Preakness day undercard.  

“If there’s speed early, he won’t have a problem with that,” said Allard. “He’ll sit off of it, and have his late kick. That’s his game. He’s run some of his best races that way.” 

The son of the Awesome Again mare Sunny Again hasn’t worked since his start two weeks ago. The last run on the work tab came on May 23, when he went five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 over a fast main track at Parx. 

The only other start at Monmouth Park for Always Sunshine came last year when he finished fourth in the Mr. Prospector Stakes behind multiple stakes winner Chublicious.  

Always Sunshine isn’t the only graded stakes winner in the field. Delta Bluesman, one of two entries in the field for trainer Jorge Navarro, took the Grade 2 Smile Sprint at Gulfstream Park last year in gate-to-wire fashion.   

The Decathlon will run as race 11 on Sunday’s 12-race card. Gates will open early at 10 a.m. for the 47th annual Irish Festival. First post is scheduled for 12:50 p.m.