News & Barn notes

Schultz Seeking Second Career Stakes Win With Highestdistinction In Sunday’s $100,000 Oceanport Stakes

August 11, 2023

A little less than a month after winning her first stakes race as a trainer, Lindsay Schultz is hoping the wait for her second one is a lot shorter.

To that end, the 35-year-old Schultz will take a shot in Sunday’s $100,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park with Highest Distinction, a 6-year-old gelding trying stakes company for the first time.

The Oceanport Stakes, at a mile and a sixteenth on the grass for 3 year olds and up, headlines a 10-race card that includes the $100,000 Select Stakes at 5½ furlongs on the turf.

“He’s just a solid older horse who is in really good form right now so we’re going to try this with him,” she said. “He’s doing so well that he deserves this chance, especially at our home track. He ran really well in his one start at Monmouth Park when he finished second to Catnip (on May 27). The timing seems right for him.”

After going 0-for-6 last year, Highestdistinction has a win and two seconds from four starts this year – a win and a second since Shultz assumed the training responsibilities.

The son of Point of Entry, owned by Willow Lane Stable, comes off a sharp allowance score at Delaware Park over a soft turn course on July 14.

“The owners gave him a lot of time off last winter and I think that really helped him,” Schultz said.

A graduate of the University of Louisville’s Equine Industry Program, Schultz went out on her own full-time a year ago. Her stakes breakthrough came on July 15 when Alex Joon won the Edward P. Evans Stakes at Colonial Downs.

“That was special,” said Schultz, who oversees 25 horses at Monmouth Park. “We claimed that horse for $30,000 the first year I went out on my own at Oaklawn. It meant a lot to get that first stakes win.

“I don’t think I had horses that fit in stakes last year. We tried a couple of times but it didn’t work out. This year I have some older horses I can take some chances with.”

Schultz, a Simsbury, Conn. native, came within 2½ lengths of her first graded stakes win on July 22 when Whelan Springs was second to Proxy in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup.

Whelan Springs is a main track only entrant for the Oceanport Stakes.

“That was a huge race by Whelan Springs,” she said. “To run second to Proxy was tremendous.”

After coming through the Godolphin Flying Start program, which took her to Ireland, England, Australia and Dubai, Schultz worked for Tom Proctor and Shug McGaughey. Marshall Gramm of First Strike Racing was the first to send her horses, with Schultz winning her first race on Jan. 8, 2022 at Oaklawn.

She has a 4-6-6 line from 25 starts at Monmouth Park this year. Overall, she has 20 wins from 78 starters.

“We’re doing okay this year,” she said. “We might not have brought the right horses to fit the races. But the horses I did bring have run well and we’re happy with the results.”

Highestdistinction will face nine rivals in the Oceanport Stakes, the most notable being the Christophe Clement-trained Big Everest, a multiple stakes winner who is 7-for-13 on the grass.