News & Barn notes

Monmouth Park Connections in Kentucky Oaks and Derby

May 03, 2018

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Monmouth Park fans will see some familiar faces in action when one of racing’s biggest weekends takes place Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May, 5, at Churchill Downs. 

Jockey Joe Bravo, who has won a record 13 riding titles at Monmouth Park, has the mount aboard My Miss Lilly in Friday’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, the distaff complement to Saturday’s 144th Kentucky Derby. Mark Hennig trains the daughter of Poseidon’s Warrior, who is listed at 10-1 in the morning line in a full field of 14 3-year-old fillies. 

Bravo, who resides in Eatontown, has long been one of the most popular riders in Monmouth Park history. Overall, he has ridden more than 5,200 winners with earnings in excess of $170 million over a career that began in 1988. 

Among Bravo’s Grade 1 wins is a victory aboard Lion Heart in the 2004 Haskell Invitational, Monmouth Park’s showcase race. He has also won Monmouth Park’s other Grade 1 race, the United Nations, four times. He captured the event last summer aboard Bigger Picture. 

Paco Lopez, the only other jockey in Monmouth Park history with at least five riding titles, has the mount aboard Firenze Fire for Monmouth Park-based trainer Jason Servis in Saturday’s 144th Kentucky Derby. Simulcast of the Kentucky Derby will be among the many activities during Monmouth Park’s season opener that day. The first of Monmouth Park’s 52 live racing days will have a special 1:45 p.m. post, with the nine-race card leading into the Kentucky Derby’s 6:46 p.m. post time. 

Lopez will return to riding at Monmouth Park on a full-time basis in his quest for yet another riding title following the Kentucky Derby. He was Monmouth Park’s leading jockey in 2010 and then from 2013-16. 

Firenze Fire drew post position No. 1 in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field. 

Servis, who recorded his 1,000th career victory just a few weeks ago was second in the Monmouth Park trainer standings a year ago with 27 victories from 86 starters. He won 32 races at Monmouth Park from 93 starters in 2016. 

Monmouth Park’s meeting runs through Sunday, Sept. 9.