Oceanport, N.J.- Irish Politics showed his heels to the rest of the field of 2-year-old state-breds when he last raced, and on Saturday he’ll be back at Monmouth Park campaigning for a divisional championship bestowed by the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey at year’s end.
The Graham Motion-trainee is one of the standouts in the field of 15 entered (12 can start) in the $60,000 Jersey Juvenile restricted to New Jersey-breds, and the winner traditionally garners the majority of votes for the top honors. Usually the Jersey Juvenile is run in separate divisions, with one for fillies and the other for colts and geldings, but this time around both sexes will compete in the same race.
“You never know with lightly raced two-year-olds, that’s for sure,” Motion said. “But I am a little surprised by how well he’s done sprinting. I thought we wouldn’t see the best of him until we sent him a little farther, so in that respect he’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Irish Politics, who is by Political Force out of the Polish Numbers mare Irish Sovereign, is an Isabelle Haskell de Tomaso homebred. Although she resides in Modena, Italy for part of the year, she and her sister, Hope Haskell Jones, remain involved in breeding horses and racing them at the track where they grew up. Their father, Amory Haskell, was the president and chairman of the board of Monmouth Park from 1946 until his death in 1966.
“They are tremendous ladies to train for,” said Motion. “I have a couple of horses for both of them and they are just a real pleasure. You’re always flattered when people like that ask you to train their horses. It’s nice to have some Jersey-breds in the barn, too.”
Visionary Ruler, who is trained by Bret Calhoun, appears to be another stand-out in the field. He has raced twice, each time against state-breds his age at Monmouth Park, and broke his maiden last out on August 12 in an effort that was a huge move forward from his initial try. In fact, he beat Irish Politics that day.
“We didn’t have him as tight as we would have liked the first time he ran, but it was a New Jersey-bred race, so we figured we might as well take a shot instead of running him against open company. The second time he ran he was a lot more fit,” said Tom Morgan, the assistant to Calhoun. “We expected him to improve off that effort, but we really didn’t expect it would be by that much.”
Morgan said that the Jersey Juvenile could be a “Catch-22” situation for the son of Pollard’s Vision because that win came almost two months ago and they haven’t been able to find a suitable spot for him since.
“It’s been a long time since he ran and a lot of the others in the field have more recent experience,” he said. “But he’s a nice horse. He’s working really well here and doing really good right now, so we’ll see.”