Slim Shadey, who was second to 2011 Champion Older Male Acclamation by only one length last out in the Grade 1 Charlie Whittingham Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on June 9, is the sole invader from the West Coast. With regular rider David Flores in the irons, he’ll take on some of the Beasts of the East in this year’s older male grass horse division.
Al Kali and Brilliant Speed last raced in the Grade 1Woodford Reserve Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park and Turbo Compressor and Slim Shadey joined that pair two starts back in field for the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs. On June 16, Turbo Compressor went gate-to-wire while finishing in front of a fast-closing Air Support in the $500,000 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs.
2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Eldaafer and Freud’s Honour are stabled on the grounds and will be saddled by Diane Alvarado and Gregg Sacco, respectively. Eldaafer was second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at one-mile-and-a-half on Belmont’s main track after being steadied early in his last effort and Freud’s Honour is still looking for his first victory this year after two starts over Monmouth’s turf course in the allowance optional claiming ranks.
The field, from the rail out and with trainers and riders, is: Turbo Compressor, Todd Pletcher, Joe Bravo; Brilliant Speed, Tom Albertrani, Joel Rosario; Slim Shadey, Simon Callaghan, David Flores; Al Khali, Bill Mott, Rosie Napravnik; Freud’s Honour, Gregg Sacco, Angel Serpa; Eldaafer, Diane Alvarado, Paco Lopez; and Air Support, Shug McGaughey, Alex Solis.
PLETCHER SENDS OUT TWO IN THE MONMOUTH CUP
The $200,000 Grade 2 Monmouth Cup, the supporting event on Saturday’s card, has attracted a competitive field including locally-based stakes winner Ponzi Scheme and 2011 Grade 1 Jockey Gold Cup winner Flat Out. That hasn’t deterred Todd Pletcher, who will run both Rule and San Pablo for separate owners in the one mile test over the main track for horses three and older.
The 5-year-old Rule hasn’t raced since a seventh place finish in the Hawthorne Gold Cup last October 8 while San Pablo, a 4-year-old colt, comes in on the heels of two tough beats that saw him duel all the way through the lane only to come up short by a nose in the As Indicated Stakes and then by a neck in the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes at Aqueduct.
“We gave Rule a bit of a freshening after last year to gear him up for the summer and fall campaigns. I think the distance of a mile will be good for him in his first start back,” Pletcher said by phone from his Belmont Park base. “San Pablo is a nice horse who is very competitive and always runs hard. He’s in good form now.”
The multiple stakes winning San Pablo has never finished out of the money in nine starts and has earned $222,800 from five wins, thee seconds and one third.
TEN LUCKY FANS WILL WIN FREE $500 BET ON SATURDAY
The only thing more fun than playing the races and picking winners is doing so with free money. Ten lucky fans will have the chance to do just that on Saturday when Monmouth will give them each a $500 wagering voucher to bet on the United Nations Stakes.
Everyone 18 or older who comes to the track may enter a drawing to win one of the 10 vouchers. While the $500 must be bet on the Grade 1 $500,000 race, the winners may bet the amount any way they want, from a straight win bet to an exotic wager.
Moreover, the 10 winners will get expert help from handicapper Mike Curci before they place their wagers, and then they will be invited to watch the outcome from the winner’s circle.