News & Barn notes

Forever Souper Looks To Build Off Recent Form Spree in Saturday’s $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes To Kick Off Three-Day Holiday Weekend

May 23, 2024

The only specific thing that trainer Michael Trombetta says he can point to as a reason for Forever Souper’s recent success and form spree is the calendar.

The 5-year-old gelded son of American Pharoah heads into Saturday’s featured $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes at Monmouth Park off three straight sharp efforts to start his 2024 campaign. Two have been his first two stakes victories, with his most recent start a tough-luck third in the Henry S. Clark Stakes at Laurel on April 20.

Since Trombetta took over the training duties from Mark Casse for the Live Oak Plantation runner in 2022, Forever Souper has four wins, a second and two thirds in nine starts.

“Some of these horses improve as time goes on,” said Trombetta. “He must be one of those.”

The Cliff Hanger, at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass for 3 year olds and up, has attracted a field of nine, including talented Jersey-breds He’spuregold and There Are No Words. Though Trombetta sees the race as “pretty wide open,” he enters with confidence that Forever Souper will turn in another big effort.

“He’s just doing really well right now,” Trombetta said. “Everything seems to have fallen into place with him recently. He ran a good race last time out. He just encountered some bad luck.

“But he has been doing really well for us.”

According to the Daily Racing Form comment, Forever Souper was “blocked 1/8th, altered out” while finishing third, beaten 1½ lengths, in the Henry Clark Stakes.

Prior to that he won the Florida-bred restricted Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs and a race earlier won the Florida-bred restricted Sunshine Turf Stakes at Gulfstream to kick off his season.

Forever Souper had not been tried in stakes company prior to his last three starts.

“He had shown glimmers of being good enough to go in that direction,” said Trombetta. “He has just gotten a little better with time, as some horses do.”

Overall, Forever Souper has a 6-1-3 line from 14 career starts and is 5-1-3 from 11 lifetime turf tries.

He has also had success at the distance and at Monmouth Park, where he has two wins and a third from four starts.

“He does like it at Monmouth. He has run good there,” Trombetta said. “That’s why this race was one of my choices.”

Daniel Centeno is listed to ride.

He’spuregold, trained by Kelly Breen, will look to get over the $500,000 mark in career earnings as he makes his second start of the season. There Are No Words, trained by Chuck Spina, comes in off a seven-month layoff.

Wicked Finn, Laughing Boy, Dataman, General Jim, California Frolic and Duke of Gloucester round out the field.