Data Link captured the Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes and Varsity took the $60,000 John McSorley
Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday before a crowd of 16,236.
Trained by Shug McGaughey, Data Link sat patiently behind
the speed before making his move at the quarter-pole and storming down the lane
to prevail by a length. His final time of 1:45.93 for the mile and one eighth
over a firm turf course established a new record with the rail set at 0 feet eclipsing
the old mark of 1:46.39 established by J’Ray on August 3, 2008.
Sent off at 3-5 in the field of seven and carrying
co-highweight of 123 pounds, Data Link returned $3.20, $2.20 and $2.20 across
the board and topped the $11.60 exacta. Get Stormy paid $3.20 to place and $3
to show. It was another
length-and-a-quarter back to Get Serious, who returned $6.40 to show.
“It was perfect,” said winning jockey John Velazquez, who
partnered with Data Link for the first time.“There was a lot of speed in the
race and he likes to come from behind. It just worked out perfect for us. All
the speed held up pretty well and when I pulled him outside at the
quarter-pole, he responded right away. It’s easy when you ride this kind of
A 4-year-old colt by War Front from the Known Fact mare Database,
Data Link improved his lifetime mark to 6-0-1 from 12 outings. The multiple
graded stakes winner has now earned $451,335 for owner and breeder Stuart
“He’s a pretty good horse,” said trainer Shug McGaughey. “We
got a little bit of a pace and Johnny was patient with him and got him to
relax. When he wheeled him out, it was here we come.”
Get Stormy led into mid-stretch but could not repel the
charge of Data Link.
“I had to move about the five-eighths pole, which was sooner
than I wanted to go,” said Eddie Castro, who rode the horse for trainer Tom
Bush. “He did everything right today, the other horse just caught us.”
In the John McSorley Stakes, Varsity broke alertly and set
all of the fractions to post a half-length victory over Triple E, who rallied
late but failed to catch the winner.
Conditioned by Christophe Clement, Varsity covered 5 ½ furlongs
on firm turf in 1:00 4/5, just one tick off the course record, and paid $4.20,
$3 and $2.80 as the even-money favorite in the field of six. Triple E completed
the $43.60 exacta and returned $8.40 and $4. Tune Me In was another length-and-a-quarter
back in third, good for a $3.20 show mutuel.
“This horse is not a typical Christophe Clement horse. This
horse is fast, fast, fast,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo. “All I had to do was hold on for the ride and
The McSorley victory was the fourth in eight tries and the
first stakes win for Varsity, a five-year-old son of Indian Charlie out of the Mt.
Livermore mare Tears of Joy. The winner’s share of the purse boosted the
gelding’s lifetime earnings to $130,675 for owners and breeder Diana and