News & Barn notes

Schultz Earns First Graded Stakes Win As Whelen Springs Wins Saturday’s $250,000, Grade 3 Iselin Stakes By A Half-Length

August 19, 2023

Trainer Lindsay Schultz has had a five-week stretch that she is likely to remember for quite a while.

After winning her first stakes race on July 15 and her second on Aug. 13, the 35-year-old recorded the biggest win of her three-year career when Whelen Springs surged past Trademark at the sixteenth pole to score a half-length win in Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park.

It marked her first graded stakes win, as 1-2 favorite Zozos staggered home fourth, setting up hefty show prices with $75,427 of the $89,101 bet on the Brad Cox-trainee in that pool.

“I’m happy to get my first graded stakes win for these owners (Shortleaf Stable) and with this horse because of the way he has improved so much,” said Schultz. “He’s gained confidence and he’s really done well since we brought him to Monmouth Park. He took a step up last race (finishing second to Proxy in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup) and then he did it again today.

“This was a small field but a really good one so I wasn’t expecting too much. We thought he’d run well and he ran the way he has been training.”

Ridden by 59-year-old Jose Ferrer, Whelen Springs settled into a close-up fourth early in the five-horse field going a mile and a sixteenth. Zozos set the early fractions as expected, going :24.26 for the opening quarter and :48.33 to the half, but never responded when Trademark took off after him entering the final turn.

Ferrer made his move with Whelen Springs right after that, with the two fighting down the lane for the lead before Whelen Springs, a 4-year-old son of Street Sense, nudged by.

The winning time was 1:44.35.

As part of the Breeders’ Cup “Dirt Dozen” the connections of Whelen Springs receive a credit of $15,000 toward entry fees to the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.

“I had a lot of faith in this horse going into this race. Lindsay has done a really nice job with him,” said Ferrer, who recorded his first graded stakes win since the 2021 Tampa Bay Derby. “His last race was a tough race. He battled the whole way and lost to a really good horse. Today he broke the same way. I got the same trip on the back side. I was sitting there thinking `I’ve got a lot of horse. There’s a lot left here.’

“I don’t know what happened to Zozos but I wanted to wait as long as I could to make a move and when Trademark went I followed him and I could see Zozos was struggling. Then it became a battle down the stretch. He just took off. I was so impressed with his race today.”

Steal Sunshine rallied late to edge out Zozos for third, but was 2½ lengths behind Trademark.

After racing in $50,000 optional for most of 2022 and until June of this year, Whelen Springs was sent from John Ortiz’ barn to Schultz. He won a $50,000 optional claimer at Monmouth Park on June 17 in his first start for her, then was second in the Monmouth Cup.

“I’m hoping to get a little time to enjoy this but we want to keep doing well,” said Schultz, whose first graded stakes win came with the 178th starter of her career. “So you have to move on to the next one.

“Jose has figured out how to ride this horse. He seems to be able to keep his momentum going. He was wide in the first turn but he doesn’t mind that. He really showed some heart.”

Whelen Springs paid $20.80 to win.