Pants on Fire and Raging Daoust are set to go for the 78th
running of the Grade 3 Phillip H. Iselin Stakes, a race that was renamed from
the Monmouth Handicap in 1986 to honor Iselin, the former Monmouth Park
president and chairman of the board. These two local horses share more than
just Monmouth’s backstretch - they are both coming off stakes victories here and
historically perform marvelously in Oceanport.
Conditioned by Kelly Breen, Pants
on Fire is coming off a win in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on July 28, where he
took the lead down the stretch and bested the field by 1 ¾ lengths.
real hard for the win in his last race.” said Breen. “We hope he can come back
and do well here.”
5-year-old son of Jump Start out of Cabo de Noche, Pants on Fire is currently
3-for-5 at Monmouth, with the other two wins to his résumé being the 2012 Skip
Away and the 2011 Pegasus. Carrying the colors of George and Lori Hall, Pants
on Fire has amassed $285,000 of his $1,131,060 in lifetime earnings at Monmouth Park.
Daoust, trained by Buddy Carlesimo, won the Grade 3 Salvator Mile in his last
outing, stepping the distance in 1:36 4/5 on July 6 and winning by a head at the
wire after going off at 33-1. He, Pants on Fire, and six others will travel a
mile and an eighth in the Iselin, the longest
test to date for Raging Daoust.
“A mile was perfect for him,” said
Carlesimo, “but I’m encouraged that he’ll be able to go the mile and an eighth
with the way he’s been training. He seems like he’s the kind of horse that
could be able to get the distance.”
Since his last race, Raging Daoust
has worked three times on the dirt at Monmouth. He posted mirror works on July
28 and August 4, breezing five furlongs in 1:03 flat. On August 11, he was sent
out for another five furlong breeze and worked the distance in 1:01 3/5.
Santiago will be aboard Raging Daoust as current Monmouth Park
leading jockey Paco Lopez gets the mount on Pants on Fire in a race that Breen
says drew a lot of strong competitors.
“It came up a very tough race,”
Breen said. “I’ll leave the strategy up to Paco but he [Pants on Fire] really likes
this track. We’re hoping we can get a bit of a home town advantage here.”
While Pants on Fire hopes to take
advantage of his home turf, Raging Daoust may like Monmouth’s surface more than
any horse in the race. A 4-year-old gelding by Kafwain out of Champagne
Forever, Raging Daoust is an astounding six-for-seven in his contests in
Oceanport. He will break from post seven in the Iselin,
a position that Carlesimo believes will be an advantage for him on Sunday.
“I have to see who ends up in the
race before I set my strategy,” Carlesimo said, “but the outside post should be
an advantage since we’ll be able to see what everyone else is doing. He has to
be up close because he has speed and he has to take advantage of it.”
locals will have to beat last year’s Iselin winner San
Pablo in order to claim the winner’s share of the $150,000 purse in
the Iselin, which will go as race 10 on
Sunday’s 12-race card.
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