N.J. –Le Bernardin dug in down the lane to
gamely capture the Grade 3 $100,000 Pegasus Stakes as Inspired posted a
front-running score in the $60,000 Fort Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park
on Sunday before a record Father’s Day crowd of 27,532.
has certainly stamped itself the place to be on Father’s Day,” said Bob Kulina,
president of Darby Development LLC, operators of the racetrack. “We are
thankful for the great crowd that came out to the races and enjoyed a terrific
afternoon of family fun and racing. We can only hope to continue to build on
this great success for years to come.”
Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Le
Bernardin covered the mile-and-a-sixteenth in 1:44.51 on a fast track to
prevail by a neck in the prep race for the Grade 1 $1 million Haskell
Invitational to be run here on Sunday, July 29.
Sent off at 5-1 in the field of
seven 3-year-olds and carrying 116 pounds, Le Bernardin returned $12, $5.40 and
$3.40 across the board and topped the $61.20 exacta. Easter Gift paid $4.60 to
place and $3 to show. It was another
length-and-a-quarter back to even-money favorite Good Morning Diva, who
returned $2.40 to show.
“He just kept running,” said
winning jockey Mike Luzzi. “I was having trouble with him early and I put him
into the race on the outside so he wasn’t getting dirt in his face. I really
had to keep after him because he kept trying to lug in. It was surprising
because he’d never done that in his races before, but he’s only been out a
handful of times. I was just trying to get him to focus and kept him on his
task all the way to the wire.”
By Bernardini from the Wild Again
mare La Rosa, the Darley Stable homebred
improved his lifetime mark to three wins from five starts. With the
winner’s share of the purse, the first time stakes-winning colt has now earned
“It was a great win and an
excellent ride by Mike Luzzi,” said McLaughlin. “The horse seemed to be lugging
in for much of the race, but Mike did a great job. I’ve never noticed that he’s
been a tough horse to ride in the past, but Mike knows him well and did a great
job today. The Haskell is obviously a race we’ll look at after we see how he
comes out of this.”
Easter Gift closed strongly through
the lane to engage the winner in a three-way stretch duel with Good Morning
Diva, but Le Bernardin proved best.
“We’ll definitely have to think
about the Haskell after his race today,” said Nick Zito, trainer of Easter
Gift. “He handled two turns fine and came running at the end. I thought it was
a very good race and something we can build off of.”
the trainer of Good Morning Diva said, “I understand why we were where we were
(on the rail). I just wish we weren’t there. The race played out like that. I
don’t know about the Haskell. I’ll have to talk that over with the owners.”
In the Fort Monmouth Stakes,
Inspired broke on top and never relinquished the lead as she scored a
three-quarter length victory over Classy Zip, who was gaining late but could
not catch the winner.
Conditioned by Alan Iwinski,
Inspired covered the about 5 ½ furlongs on firm turf in 1:01.23 and paid $6.00,
$2.60 and $2.40 as the 2-1 second choice in the field of five fillies and
mares. Classy Zip completed the $10.20 exacta as the 4-5 favorite and returned
$2.40 and $2.10 Witchesofwestfield was another three lengths back in third,
good for a $2.60 show mutuel.
“My horse is so fast, that if I let
her go, she’ll just run so hard and tire out,” said winning jockey Roberto
Alvarado, Jr. “I let her roll out of the
gate and take a light hold. That’s the way you have to ride her. She was
cruising along pretty easily and every time I asked her to give me a little
more she responded.”
Monmouth victory was the seventh in 19
attempts for Inspired, a five-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song out of the Mt. Livermore
mare Proposal. The winner’s share of the purse boosted her lifetime earnings to
$307,385 for owner and breeder Peter E. Blum.
continues at Monmouth on Friday, June 22, with a 10-race card – gates open
11:30 a.m., first post 12:45 p.m.
Monmouth Park has been a favorite place if mine for as long as I can remember so I was ecstatic to see such a big crowd come to the races on Fathers Day. What was disappointing was the fact that the track was so understaffed. This was a golden opportunity to entice new fans to experience the great sport of thoroughbred racing at one of the country's most beautiful facilities, but instead they were treated to long lines at both the concessions and the betting windows. The experience for first timers and novices would have been greatly enhanced if there were simply more betting windows open, then the tellers could have had the opportunity to making betting enjoyable and stress-free. Not to mention the fact that bettors would visit the windows more often if there weren't such long lines. I thought the few tellers that were there did an admirable job. Monmouth Park is one of New Jersey's greatest attractions and it deserves a better fate.