Sunday, May 31, 2009


LORD JUSTICE NEVER HEADED IN SPEND A BUCK STAKES


OCEANPORT, N.J. * Stronach Stables’ Lord Justice led all the way to win the $70,000 Spend a Buck Stakes, and Edith R. Dixon’s Smart Enough was a facile winner in the $60,000 Wolf Hill Stakes on turf before a crowd of 8,365 at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

In the Spend a Buck Stakes for 3-year-olds, Lord Justice used his good speed to secure an early lead, and then had enough left to hold off the late charge of Santana Six to score by a half-length. It Happened Again, the 2-1 favorite in the field of eight, was third, three lengths farther back.


The winner, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Chris DeCarlo, raced the one mile and 70 yards over a fast main track in 1:39 4/5 and paid $15.60, $8 and $4.20 across the board. Santana Six, second choice in the betting at 3-1, completed the $75 exacta and paid $5 to place and $4 to show. It Happened Again paid $2.80 to show.

Lord Justice gained command soon after the start and cut out fractions of :22 3/5, and :45 4/5. He turned into the stretch with the lead after six furlongs in 1:10 and opened a clear lead at the eighth pole. Santana Six cut into the margin, but was no real threat to the winner.

This was the second win of the year in three starts for Lord Justice, a bay colt by A.P. Indy * Buy the Sport, by Devil’s Bag. It was the first stakes win for the Stronach homebred.

“I was surprised and worried when I saw the fractions,” said Anthony Sciametta Jr., Pletcher’s assistant at Monmouth. “This horse has been training really well in the morning, and he showed it today.”

“I was told to hit the half in 48 seconds and I went in 45,” DeCarlo said. “The horse was just going so easily that it didn’t seem that fast. He was comfortable the whole way and very relaxed on the lead. He had his ears pricked the whole way around.”

In the Wolf Hill, Smart Enough was the 4-5 favorite and ran that way as he scored by nearly two lengths. He took command out of the gate and was never threatened as he hit the line in 1:01 for the “about” five and a half furlongs over a turf course rated “good.”

Smart Enough, trained by John R.S. Fisher and ridden by Eddie Castro, returned $3.60, $2.60 and $2.10 across the board. Atticus Kristy, an 11-1 chance, closed for the place, paying $7 and $3.40 and completing the $26.20 exacta. Awakino Cat, second choice in the field of seven, paid $2.80 to show.

This was the first win of the year in two starts for Smart Enough, a 6-year-old son of Horse Chestnut who improved his record at Monmouth to four wins in five starts here.

“He’s back to himself,” said Fisher. “For him to run that fast over this course was impressive. He’ll go next in the Highlander at Woodbine (June 21). That’s six furlongs, but he can do that no problem.

“We’ll probably be back here later this summer. We love coming to Monmouth. It’s just such a wonderful place to race.”


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