News & Barn notes

Oceanport Stakes Winner Synchrony Looking To Add To Credentials In Saturday’s Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes

August 30, 2018


A little more than a month after scoring an impressive victory in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes Synchrony will attempt to become the first multiple graded stakes winner of the meet in the Red Bank Stakes during Monmouth Park’s 12-race card on Saturday – if the Chad-Brown-trained Elysea’s World doesn’t beat him to the punch. 

Elysea’s World, who won the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes on July 29, heads the field in the Grade 3 Violet Stakes that goes as the eighth race. The Red Bank, also a Grade 3, is the 10th race on the card. 

“Whether we’re the first or not it would mean a lot. It would be a significant accomplishment,” said trainer Michael Stidham. 

The ultra-reliable Synchrony has been “a model of consistency,” Stidham said, with three wins and two thirds from five starts this year. Overall, the 5-year-old son of Tapit-Brownie Points shows a 6-3-4 line from 15 career starts with earnings of $556,552. On the turf he is 4-2-2 from eight career starts. 

The Red Bank is at a mile on the turf. 

“He’s been at Fair Hill (Md.) and he has been training well. We’re pleased with the way he is coming into this one,” said Stidham. 

After winning as the 7-10 favorite in the Oceanport Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth, Synchrony is cutting back in distance. It’s the only uncertainty about him entering the race, since he is 0-for-2 at the distance, though he was second both times. 

According to Stidham the cutback in distance is by design. 

“When we went to Arlington Park (on July 7 for the mile and three-sixteenths Arlington Handicap) we were at a pivotal point where we had to start focusing on mile and mile and a sixteenth races or a mile and an eighth and up,” Stidham said. “We felt the Arlington race being at a mile and three-sixteenths would tell us if he had any distance limitations. 

“It looked like the added distance took a little away from his kick. That’s why we shortened up in the Oceanport and now again in the Red Bank. If you want to get into the bigger races like the (Grade 1) Shadwell Mile (at Keeneland on Oct. 6) and the Breeders’ Cup we felt like the mile distance would be more to his liking than a mile and a quarter.” 

Synchrony will again be looking to turn to the tables on the Graham Motion-trained Irish Strait, who scored a 1½-length victory over Synchrony in the Red Bank Stakes a year ago. Synchrony did beat Irish Straight by three lengths in the Oceanport last time out. 

 “We think he’s a better horse than he was last year,” said Stidham. “I think this will be a good test for him. There are a couple of new shooters in there. Certainly every race is a different race and you have to navigate a good trip. But it looks like there is quite a bit of speed in the race, which is good for us. As long as Joe Bravo can get a good trip it should set up well for his late run.”