Sunday, August 10, 2008
MAREN’S MEADOW, $24, NEVER HEADED IN MONMOUTH OAKS UPSET
OCEANPORT, N.J. * River Ridge Ranch’s Maren’s Meadow looked like a winner every stride as she led from gate to wire to upset the $150,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
In the day’s co-feature, M J’s Enchanteur used similar front-running tactics to win the $70,000 Select Stakes.
Maren’s Meadow, trained by J. Larry Jones and ridden by Terry Thompson, hit the wire four and a half lengths in front of Acoma, who had four lengths on Whirling Bertie, the 8-5 favorite in the field of five 3-year-old fillies.
Maren’s Meadow, a bay filly by Meadowlake, tried similar front-running tactics in the Delaware Oaks last out on July 12, but tired from her efforts and finished fourth behind stablemate Proud Spell. The Ontario-bred appreciated the fast Monmouth track today, however, and never looked in danger at any point.
She broke on top and set all the fractions * the quarter in :23 2/5, the half in :46 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:11 3/5. Turning into the stretch, she increased her lead and ran the one mile in 1:37 1/5.
This was her second graded stakes victory of the year. In March, Maren’s Meadow won the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.
“She brings her A game every race,” Jones said. “She’s gotten to the point where she can handle the distance a little bit better.
“We thought we had the Delaware race pretty well covered with this filly going to the front and Proud Spell coming from off of it. Turning for home, I thought this filly had a big chance to beat Proud Spell.”
Jockey Terry Thompson, who rode Maren’s Meadow at Oaklawn Park during the winter, said, “The game plan was to break and go right to the lead. We got the lead early on, which gave me the ability to dictate the pace down the backside. I knew I had a lot under me turning for home.”
In the Select Stakes for 3-year-olds, M J’s Enchanteur took command out of the gate and never looked back as he scored a three-quarters of a length victory in the quick time of 1:09 1/5 for the six furlongs.
The winner, trained by Scott Lake and ridden by Eddie Castro, paid $20.20, $8 and $3.60 across the board as the second longest shot in the field of six. Fujita, one of three who went off at 5-2 in the race, rallied to be second and paid $4.40 to place and $3 to show and completed the $65.80 exacta. Indy Joe was two and a quarter lengths farther back and paid $3 to show.
This was the second straight stakes score for M J’s Enchanteur, a son of Metfield who won the Oh Say Stakes at Delaware Park last out, also in wire-to-wire fashion.
M J’s Enchanteur broke fast and found himself alone on the lead when Cobra Strike, who was expected to battle for the front, stumbled leaving the gate. With Indy Joe pressing from just behind, the winner clipped off a quarter in :22 flat and a half-mile in :44 3/5. Fujita mounted a belated rally but never threatened M J’s Enchanteur the last furlong.
“He broke good and went right to the lead,” Castro said. “I tried to get him to relax as much as possible, but it was hard with that horse (Indy Joe) right on the outside of me. When I asked him, he really picked it up for me and kept on going.”
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