News & Barn notes

Jersey-Bred Valedictorian Rebounds With Sharp Score In Saturday’s Featured Allowance At Monmouth Park

August 25, 2018


Valedictorian, the only Jersey-bred in the field, bounced back from a flat effort in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher by scoring a decisive 1¼-length victory in the featured $41,000 allowance optional claimer on the turf on Saturday at Monmouth Park. 

Trained by Kelly Breen and ridden by Carlos Hernandez, Valedictorian sat just off the flanks of longshot Zenbennie for the opening six furlongs before emerging with the lead coming out of the final turn in the mile and a sixteenth race for fillies and mares. Truth in the Lies rallied for second. It was another 1¾ lengths back to Ponti Scheme in third. 

“She wins a lot,” said Breen. “The one thing about her is that she likes to win. That’s a great character trait for a horse.” 

The victory was the eighth in 20 career starts and the fifth in 11 lifetime grass starts for the 4-year-old daughter of Temple City-Smart N Classy who is owned by Epic Racing. 

Sent off at 5-1 in the field of nine, Valedictorian returned $13.60 to win. She covered the distance over a firm turf course in 1:43.28. 

After winning the Jersey Girl Handicap on the grass on July 4 at Monmouth Park, Valedictorian was a well-beaten seventh in the Molly Pitcher at a mile and a sixteenth on the dirt in her last start on July 29. 

“That race may have been too much for her,” said Breen. “But off of this race, whether it’s turf or dirt, we have to look for another stakes race. She deserves it.” 

Hernandez, who rode Valedictorian in her previous two starts, said he learned that the filly “prefers being on the outside. She does not like the rail.” 

“I kept her outside off that speed horse and she was comfortable,” Hernandez said. “When I got her to switch leads she took off.” 

Valedictorian is now 3-for-4 in her career on the Monmouth Park turf course.