Verrazano crushes his rivals in the Haskell
Verrazano made easy work of his six rivals on Sunday, as he dominated the $1,000,000 Grade 1 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. Sent off as the even money favorite, Verrazano (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) sat in second early on as Oxbow (BetPTC.com Top Selection) set a pretty moderate pace early on. Verrazano and John Velazquez came right up to Oxbow as they went into the far turn, and Verrazano just blew right on by. Power Broker started to make a move after Verrazano at the five-sixteenths pole, but Verrazano had plenty left in the gas tank and drew away down the stretch to win by almost ten lengths in the end. Power Broker finished up in second while it was six more lengths back to Micromanage (BetPTC.com Longshot) who finished up in third. Oxbow was eased up after the race and Gary Stevens dismounted. It was said that he suffered a soft tissue injury.
In the Oceanport it was Silver Max (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) who went all the way on the lead to score a huge six length victory over Howe Great (BetPTC.com Top Selection). Geeky Gorgeous pulled off a 14/1 upset in the Regret Stakes as she rallied from off the pace to get up and win by two and a half lengths. The Monmouth Cup took a bit of a tragic turn when race favorite Take Charge Indy pulled up down the backstretch and had to be vanned off. Pants on Fire and Paco Lopez avoided Take Charge Indy who pulled up quickly and proceeded to cruise to a two length victory over Hymn Book (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection). Joyful Victory (BetPTC.com Top Selection) had a very easy time of things as she cruised all the way to win the Molly Pitcher Stakes over Wine Princess (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection). Starstruck and Rosie Napravnik made a late move to get up and win the Matchmaker Stakes.
Kettle Corn pops up to win the San Diego Handicap
Kettle Corn (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) ran one of the biggest races of his career in the Hollywood Gold Cup when he finished second to the great Game on Dude. However he might have improved even more on Saturday when he got up to catch the highly touted Paynter to win the San Diego Handicap. The San Diego Handicap is the main local prep for the Pacific Classic and Kettle Corn will have to face his nemesis Game on Dude for the big money there. Long shot Batti Man and favored Paynter went right to the front and those two went at one another throughout much of the race. They turned for home with Paynter grabbing a slight advantage, but Kettle Corn and Victor Espinoza swung into action and got up in the final yards to get up and win by half a length.
Sweet Marini (BetPTC.com 2nd Selection) took home the Fleet Treat Stakes in impressive fashion, going wire to wire to win by almost five lengths. Qiaona (BetPTC.com 3rd Selection) got up to complete the exacta, but the real shock was that heavily favored Doinghardtimeagain (BetPTC.com Top Selection) finished fourth, just a neck behind third place finisher Warren’s Veneda. Since Doinghardtimeagain didn’t hit the top three spots, the show payouts were huge, with the winner Sweet Marini, a horse that went off at 7/5, paying $8.40 to show!
Sunday it was Points Offthebench who scored a minor upset as he held off Grade 1 winner Goldencents to win the Grade 1 Bing Crosby Stakes. That win, coupled with some other upsets, created a Pick 6 carryover into the Wednesday July 31st card of $261,359.