In the Frisk Me Now Stakes, Solar Flare went off the longest price in the field of four and had the biggest stretch kick as he stopped the timer in 1:41 flat for a mile and a sixteenth on the fast main track.
The Frisk Me Now is the first Monmouth prep for the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) that will be run here on Aug. 22.
Solar Flare, a 5-year-old son of Salt Lake, sat just behind an early speed duel as Understatement and Formal King hooked up for a half in :45 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:09 2/5.
Turning into the stretch, Solar Flare made his move and quickly went by the tiring front-runners. He opened up as the jockey pleased through the stretch as Nite Light, who had trailed early, made a belated move into second.
This was the first win of the year for Solar Flare, and the first stakes victory of his career, which began in his native Argentina. Last year, he finished second in the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont.
“He’s shown us at times he can be really good,” Jones said. “He’s told us he can’t stand a sloppy track, and today we finally got a fast surface. Today he got everything his way * with the outside draw and able to sit off the pace.
“We won the Iselin last year with Honest Man, and our goal is to be back for that race with at least one of them (Solar Flare and Honest Man).”
“We got a perfect trip,” Saez said. “He was very comfortable sitting in behind the early speed. At the top of the lane I started to ask him and he responded powerfully.”
In the Little Silver, Platinum Girl shot out of the gate, assumed command and was never threatened as she scored by 1 ½ lengths as one of the longest shots in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.
The daughter of Mineshaft, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Eddie Castro, raced the one mile on firm turf in 1:33 3/5 and paid $43.40, $17 and $7.20 across the board. La Rocca, also trained by Pletcher, rallied on the rail for the place, a head before My Magic Moment, the favorite, who had a nose on Sandi’s Ready. La Rocca paid $5.20 and $3 and completed the $172.60 exacta. My Magic Moment paid $2.80 to show.
This was third win of the year in five starts for Platinum Girl and her first on the turf since she broke her maiden at Delaware last year.
“The game plan was to go to the front and let them catch me if they can,” Castro said. “It worked out perfectly. We got to the lead early on and nobody was able to catch us. This filly ran a big one today.”
A special 11-race Memorial Day card is set for Monday at Monmouth Park * first post 12:50 p.m.