News & Barn notes

Breen-Trained He’spuregold Rallies To Win Sunday’s Irish War Cry Handicap For Third Straight Year

July 09, 2023

The Irish War Cry Handicap may need to be renamed in the years to come at Monmouth Park.

The He’spuregold Stakes might be more apt.

He’spuregold, a 5-year-old gelding, rallied from off the pace to collar There Are No Words in the final sixteenth of a mile to win Sunday’s $85,000 Irish War Cry Handicap at Monmouth Park – the third straight year the Kelly Breen-trained son of Vancouver has won the race.

Owned by Roseland Farm Stable, He’spuregold has now won seven races from 21 career starts – six coming on the grass. He has won four state-bred stakes races at Monmouth Park.

“I kind of envisioned what happened today. I thought Chuck Spina’s horse (There Are No Words) would be right there and it would be a little bit of a stretch duel between us and that’s what happened,” said Breen. “He’s a special horse. I’m going through a lot right now (physically). With the time I’ve missed (following neck fusion surgery in mid-May), to come back after three weeks with the barn in such good order and this horse in such good order I have to tip my hat to my crew.

“Jesus Gomez is in charge when I’m gone. He’s been with me for 20 years. Despite me missing time we’re having a good meet and I really think that’s a credit to the good help I have.”

Ridden by Paco Lopez, He’spuregold returned $3.60 to win as the favorite in the field of 10 Jersey-breds going a mile on the turf.

The winning time over a course listed as firm was 1:34.01.

“I think this horse wants to go a little longer so I wasn’t really comfortable with a mile today,” said Lopez. “But he broke well and there were those three horses were having a duel early and I was able to get him comfortable and see everything happening.

“He is so much better as a grass horse. He’s a different horse on the turf. He has won a race on the dirt but I don’t know how since he is so good on the grass.”

With Crafty Don, Smithwick’s Spice and Leo Monte all dueling for the lead through early fractions of :22.95 and :46.62, Lopez had He’spuregold in fifth, just behind There Are No Words.

Coming out of the turn There Are No Words got the jump on the field and opened a 1½-length lead in mid-stretch before He’spuregold caught him late to win by three-quarters of a length. It was another 8½ lengths back in third to Smithwick’s Spice.

He’spuregold now has a 5-1-0 line from seven career starts on the Monmouth turf.