News & Barn notes

Encryption Looks to Crack Majestic Light Code Saturday

May 20, 2016

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The gang’s all back!  Saturday’s $75,000 Majestic Light Stakes at Monmouth Park may seem more like an old friend’s reunion when the field of seven heads to the post for the mile test.  Among the entrants are a trio of 2014 Haskell participants, last year’s Monmouth Cup winner, last year’s fourth-place Majestic Light runner, an allowance runner from 2014 and one fresh face.

            Encryption, who enters the Majestic Light off a five-month break has drawn the one hole and will have the return services of jockey Paco Lopez.

            “He threw in a clunker in his last,” said trainer Kelly John Breen.  “After that we figured we’d give him the winter off and get him ready for here.  He’s training great and has run well fresh before.”

              That “clunker” came in the Harlans Holiday Stakes at Gulfstream on Dec. 12, 2015 where he finished a non-threatening seventh.  Prior to that he was third in the Fayette (G3) at Keeneland and a runaway winner of the Bayern Stakes at Parx last September.  Saturday’s race will make Encryption’s sixth start at Monmouth, were he sports a record of 1-1-1, that win coming in his second start, a maiden event here in May of 2014.  After a third in that year’s Long Branch Stakes, he tried the Grade 1 Haskell, captured that year by Bayern.

            A 5-year-old horse by Exchange Rate from the Bahri mare Mystic Soul, Encryption has a lifetime mark of 4-3-4 from 15 starts and is a perfect one-for-one over the off going.

            “He’s run very well in the slop,” Breen said.  “I know what the forecast is saying and if it does come up sloppy, at least I know the surface shouldn’t prove a problem.”

            Also from the 2014 Haskell in Saturday’s stakes is Albano, runner-up in Monmouth’s signature race.  Trained by Larry Jones, Albano races in the colors of Brereton C. Jones, the former governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

            Albano enters the Majestic Light off a nearly nine-month layoff, having last been seen on the racetrack here in the Grade 3 Iselin, where he finished fourth behind fellow Majestic Light entrant Bradester, who captured last year’s Grade 2 Monmouth Cup and Grade 3 Salvator Mile. Bradester enters Saturday’s race off nearly seven months rest, having last raced in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Keeneland.

            Rounding out the Majestic Light field are Just Call Kenny, sixth in his Haskell; Adirondack King, who just missed by a nose in his most recent; Stormin Monarcho, fourth in last year’s Majestic Light; and, Admirals War Chest, who makes his Monmouth Park debut and his first start since last December.

            The Majestic Light goes as the 10th race on Saturday’s 11-race program.  Gates will open at 10 a.m. Saturday, as Monmouth Park simulcasts all the action from Pimlico, which starts at 10:30 a.m., and includes Nyquist’s run in the Preakness Stakes.