The first graded stakes of Monmouth’s Elite Summer Meet is
on tap here Monday, as the $150,000 Eatontown Stakes (G3) tops the Memorial Day
The mile and a sixteenth turf event will be run as the 10th on a 12-race
holiday program, and drew a field of seven fillies and mares.
One who will attract serious attention is Maram, a dark bay filly by Sahm who
is owned by Karen N. Woods and Saud bin Kahled. The lightly raced 4-year-old
was a sensation at 2, winning the 2008 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf at
Santa Anita to complete an unbeaten season, and pushing young trainer Chad
Brown into the spotlight in his first year running his own stable.
“That was a thrill,” said Brown, who spent three summers stabled at Monmouth Park when he was an assistant to the
late Bobby Frankel.
Last year, Maram made three starts again, winning the Hettinger Stakes at
Saratoga in August before running third * beaten a neck and a nose * in the
Oct. 12 Pebbles Stakes at Belmont.
Three weeks later she returned to Santa Anita, this time stepping up against
the world’s best fillies and mares in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly &
Mare Turf. Maram finished sixth behind the world’s best fillies and mares.
“I probably rushed her into that race,” Brown said, “and she was probably over
her head against those horses. But she does have Grade 1 potential, and the
question now is how can we get her there.”
The Eatontown will be Maram’s first start since that Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup race,
but she’s been working steadily at Brown’s Belmont Park headquarters, most
recently turning in two good efforts on the grass there.
“She couldn’t be training any better,” Brown said. “She’s had her fair share of
problems in the past, but now she’s matured and come along really well.”
Jose Lezcano, who has been aboard Maram in all her starts after the maiden win,
has the call at 116 pounds.
Trainer Christophe Clement, who won the Eatontown last year
with All Is Vanity, will saddle Oak Bluff Stable’s Akilina, a 4-year-old
Langfuhr filly who is looking for her first graded stakes score.
The field also includes a real wild card in Team Valor &
Green Lantern Stable’s Gypsy’s Warning, who will be making her North American
debut. The South African-bred mare was a Group 1 winner on grass in her native
land, but has not run since June 6 of last year.
Since coming to the U.S.,
she has been training at Fair Hill,
Md., as Graham Motion prepares her
for a summer grass campaign.