only three weeks until the $1 million William Hill Haskell
Invitational, preparations are kicking into high gear with this
Saturday’s Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth’s last major prep race for the
summer’s centerpiece. Trainer Pat McBurney
will send Just Call Kenny in search of his second straight stakes
victory and third win in only his fourth career race.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
“He’s been training fantastic,” said McBurney. “He’s
doing everything we’re asking of him and I feel like he’s on top of his
game right now.”
A 3-year-old colt by Jump Start out of the Green Dancer mare Green
Jeans, Just Call Kenny was victorious in his last race, the Spectacular
Bid Stakes at
Park on Jan. 4, where he sprinted six furlongs in 1:10 2/5, besting the field by just over two lengths. Just Call Kenny will stretch out in the
Long Branch, which is set for a mile and a sixteenth along Monmouth’s main track.“He’s
just got an explosive turn of foot in him for a big old horse,”
McBurney said. “His pedigree says long and that’s what we’re really
that he’ll take the two turns and still be able to give us that kind of
a kick. He’s bred to go long and he’s given every indication that he’ll
do well with it. He listens to our rider and waits for the rider to
tell him go so I think he’s going to love the
Racing in the colors of ABL Stable, Bossone, Cahill, Donnely, and PHF,
Just Call Kenny will face tough competition in search of the winner’s
share of the
$100,000 purse. Among the competitors are stakes winners Meadowood and
Tiz’naz, as well as Todd Pletcher’s Misconnect, the 5/2 morning line
favorite. Just Call Kenny will break from post-seven in a field of eight
“First time back after a long off a layoff normally a horse would be
kind of fresh,” McBurney said, “but he listens to the rider really well
so we’ll just
have to leave it in Julian’s (jockey Pimentel) hands. As long as he’s
going along comfortably in the first part we’ll see if he can kick in.
We would have liked to see a little more speed in there but there are a
couple that look like they’ll go to the front.”
Although Just Call Kenny is just getting started in his racing career, McBurney has high hopes for his young horse.
“For ABL Stable and all the partners being
New Jersey guys obviously the Haskell is the jewel of our summer,” McBurney said, “so we’d love to be invited to that.”
Long Branch is scheduled as race 11 on Saturday’s 12-race card.
JACOBSON HAS AN ELKWOOD RUNNER, RAIN OR SHINE
The Elkwood Stakes is set as
Park’s Fourth of July feature race at a mile on the turf,
and David Jacobson, Monmouth’s current leading trainer, has entered both
Slim Shadey and Spa City Fever. With some wet weather anticipated for Thursday night into Friday morning,
Jacobson plans to run Slim Shadey if the race stays on the grass and Spa City Fever if it moves to the dirt.
A 6-year-old gelding by Val Royal out of Vino Veritas, Slim Shadey will
try to bounce back from an off the board finish in the Grade 2 Monmouth
June 8 if the Elkwood stays on the turf. Since his last race he has
worked once, breezing three furlongs in: 39 4/5 on July 2 at Aqueduct.
In the more likely event that the race comes off the turf, main track
only entry Spa City Fever will return to the dirt after trying grass at
his last outing, where he finished out of the money in a seven furlong
allowance race on June 14.
City is a nice horse,” Jacobson said. “He’s been
very consistent for us. We tried him on the grass last time, and he
didn’t take as well to the grass as he has to the dirt, so I’m looking
for a big race out
An 8-year-old gelding by Roaring Fever out of Lady Di Huntley, Spa City
Fever looks to add the winner’s share of the $75,000 purse to his
of $556,618 for owners Drawing Away Stable and Jacobson. Spa
City Fever will break from the outside in an overflowing field of 17 that have entered the Elkwood.
“He’ll be on the pace,” said Jacobson. “Breaking from the far outside I
think will be alright for him. The distance is a little longer than his
but I don’t think it’ll be a problem.”Jockey Chuck C. Lopez, leading rider here in 1998, will ride either
Slim Shadey or Spa City Fever in the Elkwood, which goes as race 10 on