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Bradester gets a pat from jockey Joe Bravo as he returns after the Monmouth Cup Stakes (G2).
The 30,587 fans who came out to Monmouth Park on Sunday afternoon for the Haskell Invitational to witness Exaggerator also enjoyed 4 stakes races on the undercard. Conditions were less than ideal with rains downgrading the main track to sloppy and the turf to yielding, with temperatures in the high 70's.
The $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (G2), formerly run as the Meadowlands Cup, featured a field of 6 older horses going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Last year's winner Bradester was the 3-5 favorite off his Stephen Foster (G1) win, over 3-1 Blofeld, 7th in the Metropolitan (G1), and 7-1 Scuba, third in the Dominion Day (G3).
Jockey Joe Bravo put Bradester on the lead immediately and he set fractions of 23.21, 46.83, and 1:11.23 while pressed by 8-1 Mr. Jordan. Entering the lane Bradester opened up a 6 length lead through 1 mile in 1:35.26. Scuba, 5th early, came through late on the inside but Bradester cruised to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:42.21. It was a long 5 1/4 lengths back to Mr. Jordan third.
Left: Bradester in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Eddie Kenneally said, "We never breeze in the mud, but he does go out in the mornings on the mud. He did run in it once in a graded stakes and finished second as a 3-year-old and it was a big effort that day. He loves Monmouth. We know he loves a dry Monmouth, but we weren't sure if he would love a wet Monmouth. Evidently he handled it quite well."
Right: Bradester heads back to the barns. Winning jockey Joe Bravo added, "Honestly, coming down here I thought this was my best spot today. I had the most pressure on me because I thought I could not get beat. After seeing how the track is playing today and how Bradester performed, I think he's twice as good as I thought he was before the race. He had a lot to overcome today between the surface and not being able to take a breather. They went at him hard and he had to prove he was the best horse today."
The $100,000 WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (G3) featured a field of 9 older fillies and mares going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. Itsonlyactingdad was sent off as the 5-2 favorite off a close 2nd in an allowance, over 3-1 Heath, 3rd in the Gallorette (G3), and 4-1 Tammy the Torpedo, 4th in the Dr. James Penny Memorial.
33-1 Means Well set the pace of 24.64, 49.38, and 1:14.38 while pressed by 25-1 Invading Humor and stalked by 6-1 Pink Poppy. Means Well continued to lead to midstretch through 1 mile in 1:39.87 before tiring, as Itsonlyactingdad, 7th early, rallied on the outside to win by 1 1/4 lengths over Tammy the Torpedo in 1:52.27 over the yielding going. It was another 3 3/4 lenghs back to 10-1 Uchenna third.
Left: Itsonlyactingdad heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joe Bravo said, "After my day at Saratoga yesterday (winner of the Grade 1 Vanderbilt) being able to come down here with the mounts I had is just living a dream. It's fun to deal with good horses and with these horses any jock in the jock's room could have sat on any one of these horses and won the race. It's just nice that it was me. What makes this filly special is that she did it with so much ease. Every time I pointed her at something she listened perfectly."
Right: Itsonlyactingdad heads back to the barn after the race.
A field of 8 older horses contested the $150,000 Oceanport Stakes (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. Blacktype, an allowance winner at Belmont, was the 5-2 favorite over 4-1 Almasty, 2nd in allowance company, and 9-2 Captain Dixie, 4th in the Dixie (G2) last out.
20-1 Nonna's Boy set the pace of 24.72, 49.64, and 1:14.38 while pressed by 9-1 Infinite Wisdom and stalked by Almasty. At the top of the lane Almasty gained the front through 1 mile in 1:39.36 before weakening late. Blacktype, 6th early, came out 4 wide for room and outfinished 8-1 Kharafa to win by a neck in 1:45.64. It was another 1 1/2 lengths back to 5-1 War Dancer third.
Left: Blacktype heads to the winner's circle. Winning jockey Joe Bravo said, "We thought we had the best horse in the race and that turned out to be true. The turf was in great shape even with all the rain and I was just happy to be aboard the best horse. He really dug in the final eighth (of a mile) and was able to push by late."
Right: Blacktype gets hosed off after the race.
The $100,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) featured a field of 5 older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Super Majesty, 2nd in the Iowa Distaff last out, was the 9-5 favorite over 2-1 Birdatthewire, 5th in the Humana Distaff (G1), and 5-2 Eskenformoney, third in the Lady's Secret.
Super Majesty led through fractions of 24.04 and 47.19 before 3-1 fourth choice Genre took over through 3/4 in 1:11.41. Entering the lane Eskenformoney, who had stalkedt he pace in 3rd early, gained a short lead but Genre fought back to win by a neck in 1:43.10. It was 3 lengths back to Birdatthewire third, while favorite Super Majesty tired and finished last.
Left: Genre in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Paco Lopez said, "I had a little trouble out of the gate but I took her out and got settled. Coming around the turn I knew Bravo (jockey Joe, on Eskenformoney) would be coming. He started to pass me and I asked my filly and she gave me something. She's a really nice filly." Anthony Sciametta Jr., assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher added, "She's all heart. She was headed in the lane and fought back all the way to the wire. We wanted to be sitting second early, but she looked to be real keen today. I think she really liked the off going this afternoon."
Right: Last place finisher and beaten favorite Super Majesty in the post parade.
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