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Hard Enough Takes Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes; Paco Lopez Wins 7, Sets Single-Day Record for a Rider

Saturday, May 17, 2014

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Peace Sign Stable’s Hard Enough moved into contention three-wide around the far turn before grabbing the lead near the 1/8th pole and holding off the late charge of Winning Cause to capture the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park by just under a length as jockey Paco Lopez booted home a record seven winners on the Saturday card.

            With Eddie Castro in the irons, Hard Enough covered the mile over “good” turf in 1:36 3/5 and paid $20.40, $8.60 and $4.20.  Winning Cause completed the $81.20 exacta and returned $4.80 and $2.80.  It was another length and three-quarters back to 5-2 favorite Slim Shady, who paid $3 to show.
            “I spoke with Eddie (jockey Castro) before the race and he rode him perfectly,” said winning trainer Bobby Dibona.  “I knew there were speed horses in there, so I told him if they go, just get him to relax, and that’s how it worked out.

            “He showed good versatility and what we saw today was what I’ve been teaching him to do.  We’ll take it one thing at a time, but we’re looking at the Monmouth Stakes (Grade 2, $200,000 mile and an eighth on June 8) here for his next start.”

            A 4-year-old colt by Hard Spun from the Mr. Greeley mare Grecian Wings, Hard Enough has won six of his 20 career starts. The winner’s share of the $100,000 purse boosted his lifetime bankroll to $247,050.

            Lopez, a 28-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, kicked off his record setting day by piloting odds-on favorite Ground Force ($3.60) in the first.  He then won the third race atop Mary N’ Ellen ($3.80), the fifth with Speightscity ($4), the sixth with Rainbow at Midnite ($4.80), the seventh with Precious Mem ($6), the 10th with More Than a Party ($6.80) and the finale atop Tycoon Cat ($5.40).

            “I’m really excited to have broken the record,” said Lopez.  “It was a great day and I’m fortunate to have ridden so many nice horses.”

            The previous record of six wins on a card was set by Walter Blum on June 9, 1961 and equaled by Chris Antley (July 30, 1984), Julie Krone (Aug. 19, 1987), Joe Bravo (Aug. 31, 1994, May 18, 2002, Sept. 18, 2005 and Sept. 4, 2006), Jose Lezcano (June 22, 2008) and Eddie Castro (June 21, 2009).

            Live racing continues at Monmouth on Sunday, May 18 – gates open 11:30 a.m., first post 12:50 p.m.

 


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