OCEANPORT, N.J. — Money Multiplier kept up his role of being a money making machine for owners Al Shahania Stud and trainer Chad Brown when he took the lead inside the 1/16 pole and went on to win Monmouth Park's $196,000, Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes for the second straight time on May 26.
One race earlier, Adam Staple and Jalin Stable's Pennsylvania-bred Page McKenney showed why he's a tough-as-nails runner in the $102,000, Grade 3 Salvatore Mile.
With Long Branch, N.J. native Joe Bravo in Money Multiplier's saddle, the 6-year-old ridgling defeated a select field of four rivals in the mile and a furlong contest run on the Jersey Shore turf course.
Despite his win in the same race last year, Money Multiplier was sent off as the 4 to 1 third betting choice behind Keeneland campaigners Frostmourne with Joel Rosario and Divisidero with Jevian Toledo aboard.
Bravo kept his charge in second place behind the pace setting Frostmourne until they turned into the stretch. With horses on either side of him, Money Multiplier gained the advantage in deep stretch and posted a three-quarters of a length win in 1:46.79 on a course rated 'firm.' Divisidero took second from Projected and Jose Ortiz by another half length.
When asked about his ride aboard the winner, Bravo, a 13-time riding champion at Monmouth, said, “He's a beast. Turning for home, he just ran away with it.” When asked about his instructions from Brown, last year's leading turf trainer, Bravo said, “He said 'You might be on the lead. Don't be shocked. He's fresh. Let him run his race.'”
The win for Money Multiplier was his fifth lifetime. With Monmouth Park's check for $120,000 in the bank, he is now a member of the equine Millionaire Club.
One race earlier, Page McKenney came from fifth place in a seven-horse field to capture the Salvatore with Horacio Karamanos in the saddle for trainer Mary Eppler. They stayed close to the rail until the far turn when the rider switched the 8-year-old gelding out toward the middle of the track. They then took the measure of Shaft of Light and Jose Ferrer by half of a length. Sunny Ridge and Paco Lopez were another 1-1/2 lengths back in third.
Page McKenney, who once ran for a claiming price of $25,000 after Eppler claimed him for Staple and Jalinin 2013, now has logged 22 wins from 56 starts with earnings getting very close to $2 million.
Expressing a trainer's pride, Eppler said after the race, “He's all heart. He's an amazing horse.”
The Savatore Mile kicked off Monmouth Park's participation in the newly revived Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH), a cooperative stakes racing bonus program being offered by Monmouth, Parx, Presque Isle Downs, Pimlico, Delaware Park and Laurel Park.
The five divisions offer a total of $2.8 million in purses. Horses placing in each division will receive points with the end of summer leaders carving up additional bonuses of $450,000 among the owners and trainers.
Monmouth's next MATCH races will be the $75,000 Regret for fillies and mares at six furlongs and the the $75,000 Mr. Prospector at the same distance for the males. Both are carded for June 17.
The May 26 card at Monmouth was one of the planned days of “bundling” stake races, a program that offers several stakes on one afternoon's card.
The program must be paying off. As the sun set over the Jersey Pinelands, Monmouth Park reported the crowd of 15,764 for the first day of the three-day holiday weekend. And, said Monmouth's Tom Luicci, the all sources handle was over $5.9 million, the best number since the running of the Grade 1 United Nations on July 5, 2015.
Dark Artist, a 3-year-old filly racing for trainer Jane Cibelli and jockey Trevor McCarthy, won the $75,000 Boiling Springs.
The John J. Reilly saw Brother Chub run down his full brother, Chublicious, who was trying for his third Reilly win. Brother Chub's win gave their sire, Hey Chub, two sons who have won the race in addition to Hey Chub's victory in 2007.
At Belmont Park...
Zayat Stables' Irish-bred Gidu, a son of the great champion Frankel, took the lead a furlong out and went on to win Belmont's $100,000 guaranteed Paradise Creek Stakes for trainer Todd Pletcher and Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez.
The 3-year-old colt defeated four rivals in the seven-furlong turf contest that was run 1:20.44 on a 'firm' surface as the 9 to 10 favorite. Gidu repelled a late challenge from Curlan's Honor to beat that rival by a neck.
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