OCEANPORT, N.J. * Upsets ruled at Monmouth Park on Saturday as Robert LaPenta’s Truth Rules scored a shocker in the $150,000 Long Branch Stakes and Salvatore Racing Stable’s Fagedaboudit Sal, the longest shot on the board, captured the $70,000 Bob Harding Stakes on turf.
Truth Rules, sent off the absolute outsider in the field of five 3-year-olds at 16-1, rallied from dead last on the turn to run down favored Atoned by a head at the wire, stopping the timer in 1:45 1/5 for the mile and a sixteenth.
The victory likely earned the colt a berth in Monmouth’s $1 million Haskell Invitational on August 3.
Elliott took Truth Rules back to last early as Indy Joe carved out early fractions of :24 for the quarter and :47 4/5 for the half. Coming into the stretch, Atoned made a move between horses to reach the lead while Truth Rules was circling the field on the outside.
In the final sixteenth, Truth Rules made a determined run at the leader and caught Atoned at the wire.
“They told me before the race that I’d be in the back,” Elliott said. “There was a lot of speed in the race. About the half-mile pole, I eased him out because he didn’t seem to like the dirt coming back at him.
“He was picking it up a little and then I just tapped him a couple of times and he started moving a little quicker. At the quarter-pole the other horses were all together and I thought I had a shot at it. Atoned kicked away from me a little bit in the stretch, but my horse just kept digging and got up when it mattered.”
This was the third straight victory at Monmouth for Truth Rules, who broke his maiden here in May and won an allowance last month.
In the Bob Harding Stakes, Fagedaboudit Sal had a memorable debut on the grass as he led from start to finish as a rank outsider and beat Kiss the Kid, the 3-2 favorite, by a length and a half.
The winner, trained by Luis Carvajal Jr. and ridden by Pablo Fragoso, stepped the one mile over firm turf in 1:34 3/5 and paid $80.40, $23.80 and $10.60 across the board as the longest shot in the field of 10.
Kiss the Kid made a belated rally to get second, paying $3.80 to place and $3 to show and completed the $433.20 exacta. Classic Campaign, second choice at 2-1, was a length and a quarter farther back and paid $2.80 to show.
This was the first-ever turf try for Fagedaboudit Sal, a 5-year-old son of Yarrow Brae who was the only New Jersey-bred in the field. The gray gelding improved his record at Monmouth to 6-4-2 in 23 starts here. The winner’s share of $42,000 raised his lifetime total to $369,838 for the Salvatore Racing Stable.
Fagedaboudit Sal came out of the gate running and clipped off fractions of :24 1/5 for the quarter, :48 for the half and 1:11 for the six furlongs. He stayed strong through the stretch, racing the last quarter in :23 3/5.
“Our goal was to get to the Hesse Handicap (state-bred race on Aug. 3),” Carvajal said. “There wasn’t a race between now and then and I didn’t want to wait that long, so we took a shot in here. I’ve always had confidence in this horse, so we gave him a try on the grass. Obviously it worked out well. We’ll go back to the main track in the Hesse after this.”
Fragoso said, “Luis told me that if this horse takes to the grass, he’ll give everything he has. That’s exactly what happened today. We got soft early fractions and this horse gave it his all.”
In the second race of the day, Sir Winston established a new turf course record for five and a half furlongs on the hedge as he won the claiming event by a half-length.
The 4-year-old son of Dance Master, with Stewart Elliott aboard, carried 119 pounds over the distance in 1:01.91 to easily eclipse the old mark of 1:02.49 set in August of 2006 by Terrific Challenge.
Sir Winston’s record is for the exact distance of five and a half furlongs with no temporary rail in place. Terrific Challenge still holds the record for the “about” five and a half furlongs on the hedge with his 1:01 flat clocking in September of 2006.
$150,000 LONG BRANCH STAKES
WINNER * TRUTH RULES
2ND * ATONED ($3.40, $2.10)
3RD * Z HUMOR ($2.10)
WINNING TIME * :24, :47 4/5, 1:12 1/5, 1:45 1/5
WIN PRICE -- $35.80, $9.40, $3.20
WINNING EXACTA -- $94.80
WINNING TRAINER (TIM POOLE, ASSISTANT TO NICK ZITO) * “Well this horse was kind of a late-bloomer. He took some extra time to come around, but he always tried hard. He would jump up and show a big improvement every now and then. He seems to be a horse for course here at Monmouth since he’s now 3-for-3. We’re going to seriously consider the Haskell for him seeing as he likes this surface so much. It’s a real possibility.”
WINNING JOCKEY (STEWART ELLIOTT) * “They told me before the race that I’d be in the back. There was a lot of speed in the race. Around the ½ mile pole I eased him out because he didn’t seem to like the dirt coming back at him. He was picking it up a little and then I just tapped him a couple of times and he started moving a little quicker. At the ¼ pole the other horses were all together and I thought I had a shot at it. Atoned kicked away from me a little bit in the stretch, but my horse just kept digging and got up when it mattered.”
ATONED, RUNNER-UP (ANTHONY SCIAMETTA, JR.)- “Well we did everything right, but win. When they took the lead, the horse tried to play around a little and got beat.”