News & Barn notes

Breen Taking Aim At Saturday’s Jersey Girl Handicap With Solid 1-2 Punch In Bramble Bay And The Classy One

July 04, 2024

It isn’t unusual for trainer Kelly Breen to have more than one entry in a Jersey-bred stakes race, as is the case for Saturday’s $85,000 Jersey Girl Handicap at Monmouth Park.

But it’s doubtful Breen has had two horses entering the same race with approaches as disparate as Bramble Bay and The Classy One have.

Bramble Bay, a $35,000 claim for M and W Stables two races ago, is an 8-year-old mare who has been idle since April 21 and hasn’t won since Sept. 18, 2022.

The Classy One is a 4-year-old filly coming off a one-length victory in a state-bred optional claimer at a mile on the turf – the same conditions as the Jersey Girl Handicap.

Here’s the thing: Breen believes either one can win the race.

“I think we have a pretty good 1-2 punch,” said Breen. “I have one coming off a layoff and one coming off a nice win. I have no problem with either of them winning.”

The Jersey Girl drew a field of 11 fillies and mares, 3 and up, with Breen’s stablemates drawing the two outside posts. He is particularly optimistic about the chances of The Classy One, a daughter of Temple City owned by Epic Racing LLC. She has three career wins from 10 starts, with two of those victories on the grass.

“If she moves up one more time she will win the race,” said Breen, a three-time leading trainer at Monmouth Park. “She is getting better. This should be her year. We’re trying to get her a stakes win because I believe she will end up being a broodmare.”

Bramble Bay, Breen said, was claimed at this late stage of her career primarily for Jersey-bred stakes races. The daughter of Bullet Train has eight career grass wins, having earned $454,783 from 34 turf starts.

But she will have been off almost 11 weeks entering Saturday’s feature race.

“I would’ve liked to have had another race or two for her before this,” said Breen. “But we couldn’t get her in the right race and I didn’t want to run her out of town. We were trying to get her in a race at Monmouth Park and the races just wouldn’t go.

“I didn’t want to run her out of town and lose the New Jersey-bred bonus. So we opted to wait for this race.”

The layoff, Breen said, isn’t a concern because of Bramble Bay’s consistent work pattern.

“She hasn’t missed a beat,” he said. “We tried to enter her in some races so maybe I didn’t work her one week or two but she has been working steadily and hasn’t missed a workout.”

Breen, meanwhile, is off to a solid 7-for-31 start at the Monmouth Park meet as he continues to heal from debilitating neck fusion surgery a year ago.

“Since the surgery this is the best I have felt in the past year,” he said. “I’m moving around better and I even went to a couple of sales and bought a couple of horses, which I wasn’t able to do last year. I’m on the improve.”