Hobbs Goes for Graded Glory in Saturday's Red Bank Stakes

Thursday, May 16, 2013

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The first graded stakes of the 2013 season at Monmouth Park is set for Saturday when the Grade 3 Red Bank is renewed for the 39th time.  Among the 13 entered in the mile turf test is Hobbs, who exits a stakes victory in Florida and now looks for his first graded stakes win.

            “He’s training great,” said Kathy Mongeon, who conditions the gelding for owner Peter D. Kelly.  “I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s doing and he should show it on Saturday.”

            A 4-year-old by Put It Back from the Dehere mare Minster Abbey, Hobbs sports a solid turf record of 5-3-1 from 11 career starts, seven of those starts coming under Mongeon’s care.

            “He arrived here late last year,” Mongeon said.  “When I first walked him in the shedrow I got goose bumps.  I knew he’d be a stakes caliber horse and here we are.”

            Soon after that shedrow walk, Mongeon proved herself right when Eddie Castro guided Hobbs to a neck win in the Montserrat Stakes at Aqueduct on Nov. 4.  He would follow that up with an allowance win at Gulfstream on Feb. 2 of this year and then a stakes score at Tampa on April 6, his last start before the Red Bank.

            “He was bottled up the whole time,” said Mongeon of Hobbs’ last race.  “He finally got through late and came with his run.”

            As for tactics this Saturday, “Ideally, we’d like to be a few lengths off the lead early, maybe three or four back,” said the trainer.  “Elvis (jockey Trujillo) breezed him the other day and was very impressed.”

            Trujillo, a three-time leading rider at Monmouth, will have the call in Saturday’s Red Bank.  The pair will break from post nine.

            Among those set to take on Hobbs is Za Approval, the Christophe Clement trainee who exits a win in the Grade 3 Appleton at Gulfstream, and Todd Pletcher’s Finale, who was favored in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Although the forecast is for sun, one horse who would quickly draw the attention of everyone should rains unexpectedly arrive at the Jersey Shore is Belmont Stakes winner Ruler On Ice, who is entered for main track only.

The Grade 3 Red Bank is set for race 11 on the 12-race program with an estimated post time of 6:00 p.m.