The aptly-named My Adonis looked stunning on the morning before his first time in the starting gate at Monmouth Park this season and trainer Kelly John Breen pronounced him fit and ready for Sunday’s $100,000 Long Branch Stakes.
The Long Branch, to be contested at one-mile-and-a-sixteenth over the main track, is the final prep race for the $1 million Haskell at one-mile-and-an-eighth here on July 29. My Adonis could be in perfect position to get back to his winning ways this Sunday.
Monmouth’s leading rider certainly knows George and Lori Hall’s colt well as Trujillo has ridden him in every one of his 11 previous starts except his last. Ramon Dominguez was aboard when My Adonis last ran in the Grade 1 Belmont.
In addition to having his regular rider back, My Adonis has home field advantage as he has been stabled here since the start of the meet and raced well over the strip as a juvenile. In four starts on the track in 2011, he notched his first win and then had three seconds. This year, he followed the Triple Crown trail and hooked mighty tough competitors while running at Gulfstream Park and Aqueduct in the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes, the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, and the Grade 1 Wood Memorial before missing the Kentucky Derby as the first also-eligible.
The Kentucky-bred son of Pleasantly Perfect and the Elusive Quality mare Silent Justice takes on Window Boy, Phil Dancer, Forward March, Done Talking, Good Morning Diva and Macho Macho in the Long Branch.
Good Morning Diva was the beaten favorite in the Grade 3 $100,000 Pegasus, the other local prep race for the Haskell, but the trouble he encountered last out on June 17 compromised any chance he had of crossing under the wire first.
“It certainly was not the best of trips,” said trainer Tim Hills. “He got stuck inside and along the rail. We’re learning some of his idiosyncrasies and his best race is when he’s in the stalking position, and stalking from the outside. This time, I think he’s going to be right there at the end. He’s an honest horse and he shows up every time.”
Illinois Derby winner Done Talking, who ran in the Kentucky Derby two starts back and then came up empty in his first try on the grass in the $100,000 JW Murphy Stakes at Pimlico two weeks later, should draw considerable interest. The Skeedattle Stable homebred has been firing bullets in the mornings at Laurel Park and regular rider Sheldon Russell will be aboard.
Macho Macho, who has demonstrated a versatile running style while winning two of his lifetime starts, has been sent by trainer Steve Asmussen from Churchill Downs and has been made the 5-2 morning line favorite.
The top two finishers in the Long Branch traditionally have been invited to the Haskell, the meet’s premier event. Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes runner up Bodemeister and Derby third place finisher Dullahan already have been committed to the Haskell and Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags is highly probable for this year’s 45th edition of the race.
JUSTIN PHILLIP SPRINTS IN MR. PROSPECTOR
Steve Asmussen will also be represented in Sunday’s supporting stakes race with Justin Phillip and the Zayat Stables’ color bearer comes in to the six furlong sprint over the main track sporting triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in his last two outings.
Moreover, the 101 number he racked up last out was in the Grade 2 True North Handicap when he was beaten only three-quarters of a length by the highly regarded Caixa Electronica. Leading rider Elvis Trujillo gets the call on Justin Phillip.
The $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes has attracted a field of eight and the front-running Royal Currier is also dropping down from the True North. In four lifetime starts at Monmouth for trainer Patricia Farro, the 4-year-old son of Red Bullet has never finished out of the money and has won once here.
The Mr. Prospector is the prep race for the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes, which will be one of the supporting stakes on the Haskell card.
ReRUN BENEFIT CONTINUES ON SUNDAY
Fans will have the chance for an up-close-and-personal experience with their favorite riders, get autographs, enter raffles for great prizes, and collect racing memorabilia outside of the jockeys’ quarters again on Sunday, and all while supporting a worthy cause. All proceeds from the event will benefit ReRun, which helps Thoroughbreds find new homes and second careers once their racing careers are over.