Barn Notes

Thompson Trio Adds to NJ Thoroughbred Festival Card

Posted Thursday, Sep 19, 2013

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Trainer J. Willard Thompson will saddle a trio of fillies on Saturday’s card as Monmouth Park celebrates the 11th annual New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival with a 10-race program dedicated to the best runners bred in the Garden State.

            Thompson, who’s been a staple on the Monmouth Park backstretch for decades, will kick off his day in the second race with the pair of Morning Miracle and Pinot Grigio.

            “They’re both training great,” said Thompson, a five-time training champion at Monmouth.  “Morning Miracle impressed me with her win last out and Pinot Grigio has been running well all year.”

            A winner of two of her four starts, Morning Miracle almost never saw the races.

            “She was born dead,” Thompson said.  “One of the people attending the foaling began doing CPR on her trying to get her heart started and breathing into her nostril.  Within 15 minutes she was breathing.  Her name surely fits and she’s been a good runner.”

            Morning Miracle and jockey Gabriel Saez will break from the rail in the six furlong event, an allowance/optional claimer which carries a purse of $50,000.

            Her stablemate, Pinot Grigio has drawn post six with 13-time Monmouth riding champion Joe Bravo in the irons.  She’s won two of her seven starts here this year and has finished in the money in six of those outings.

            One race later Bravo will once again be getting a leg up from Thompson, this time aboard Precious Mem, who exits a runner-up finish at this level last out.

            “She’s been great this year,” said Thompson.  “A filly that really tries hard.”

            On Saturday she’ll break from the five hole in the ‘a other than’ condition which has a purse of $47,500 on the line.

Later in the day will be three stakes events with the Jersey Girl Handicap, New Jersey Breeders Handicap and Charles Hesse III Handicap all carrying a purse of $60,000.

            “I’m just glad I have three in for the card,” said Thompson of Festival Day.  “This is one of those days I look forward to all year and it’s a great opportunity to see New Jersey at its best.”


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