OCEANPORT, N.J. * Zayat Stable’s J Be K left no doubt about who was best in the $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Friday as he assumed command at the quarter pole and rolled to a handy four-length victory.
Sent off the 2-5 favorite in the field of six 3-year-olds, J Be K stopped the timer in 1:09 flat over the fast main track and paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 across the board. It was the fifth victory in seven lifetime starts for the son of Silver Deputy, who is trained by Steve Asmussen. Garrett Gomez came in from New York for the ride and registered his fourth victory on J Be K.
The Jersey Shore was the third graded stakes victory for J Be K, who was coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont and in April won the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct.
Any drama was short-lived in the running of the Jersey Shore. Gomez was content to sit behind the speed for the first quarter, completed in a quick :21 2/5, but sent J Be K into command approaching the quarter-pole. The winner skipped the half-mile in :44 1/5, and was just cruising through the stretch as Gomez throttled him down late.
“Going into the race, I knew I was on the best horse,” Gomez said. “I really wanted to keep him in the clear and out of trouble. He’s a great horse with a great mind, and is maturing at a good rate. He’s like a teenager just getting out of high school and adjusting to everything the right way.”
Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Saturday with a 12-race program, highlighted by the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes and the Grade 3 Salvator Mile.
$150,000 JERSEY SHORE STAKES (GRADE 3)
WINNER * J BE K
2ND * SILVER EDITION ($3.40, $2.20)
3RD * INDY JOE ($2.60)
WINNING TIME * :21 2/5, :44 1/5, 1:09
WIN PRICE -- $2.80, $2.20, $2.10
WINNING EXACTA -- $8.40
WINNING TRIFECTA -- $20.40
WINNING TRAINER (TOBY SHEETS, ASST. TO STEVE ASMUSSEN) * “He’s a sharp breaker, so the plan was to just let him hop out of the gate and go from there. I didn’t expect four horses to be going for the lead, but it all worked out well. We’ll see how he comes out of this race. Garrett geared him down toward the wire, which should have saved something for his next race. He was real impressive today.”
WINNING JOCKEY (GARRETT GOMEZ) * “Going into the race, I knew I had the best horse, so I really wanted to keep him in the clear and out of trouble. People don’t really think he has any speed, but if you look back at his two-year-old line at Saratoga, you see differently. He’s a great horse with a great mind and is maturing at a good rate. He’s like a teenager just getting out of high school and adjusting to everything the right way. He’s a very nice horse.”