News & Barn notes

Sunny Ridge Rallies To Capture Saturday’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile Over Diamond King

May 25, 2019

Shortly after he was honored as the New Jersey Thoroughbred of the Year for 2018, Sunny Ridge started his campaign to repeat those honors in 2019.

The Jason Servis-trained gelding found room along the rail to rally past Diamond King in deep stretch for a three-quarters length victory in Saturday’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. It was another 2¼ lengths to Bal Harbour, who rallied impressively after missing the break.

Owned by Dennis Drazin, the CEO and chairman of Darby Development LLC, operators of Monmouth Park, Sunny Ridge received a well-timed ride from Jose Lezcano in posting his seventh victory from 25 career starts.

With the $90,000 winner’s share from the purse of $150,000 the 6-year-old son of Holy Bull-Lignum Vitae by Songandaprayer pushed his career earnings total past $1.3 million.

“He had a great trip. He broke super,” said Servis. “I was glad Jose Lezcano kind of let him float. Once he made his move he really took off.

“He’s a poor man’s horse. He bangs away every race and makes money. Ive never even thought about him as Jersey-bred. When I got him as a 2-year-old I told Dennis I am going to make $1 million with this horse. Look at him. He’s a big, beautiful horse. And he’s a gelding so he could have another good three years in him. He might hit $2.5 million. I’m thrilled to death with his performance.”

The combination of Joe Bravo and Chad Brown, meanwhile, accounted for two of the four stakes victories. In addition to winning the featured Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes with Almanaar, the two combined to take the Boiling Springs Stakes with favorite Beautiful Lover.

The $75,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for Jersey-breds produced the only major stakes upset, with Prendimi scoring in wire to wire fashion and paying $54.40 to win.

Chris DeCarlo rode the winner, who was trained by Luis Carvajal.