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Monmouth Park Barn Notes - Sept. 20

New Monmouth Park logo
Trainer Gregg Sacco will be very busy this Saturday at Monmouth Park with five horses entered on the 10-race New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival card.  Among the Sacco entrants are one in each of the three stakes events that headline the 11th annual Festival.

Sacco’s stakes trio starts with Ima Jersey Girl in the $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap, a race she won last year by an impressive 12 ½ lengths.

“This race has been circled on the calendar for a long time,” said Sacco.  “We could have run her in between races, but knew this was the race we wanted to win and opted to train up to it.” 

All six of Ima Jersey Girl’s victories have come at Monmouth Park, including four at the Jersey Girl distance of a mile and a sixteenth.  She sports just one race this year, a fourth-place finish in the off the turf Fort Monmouth Stakes here on June 8.

“She’s been training well all season,” Sacco said.  “We’ve just been waiting for this race.  She’s five now, is closing in on $300,000 in earnings and will be bred next year.  It would be nice to win this race two years in a row.”

Two races later Sacco will be back in the paddock, this time putting a saddle on Quepos in the $60,000 New Jersey Breeders Handicap at six furlongs.

“I’d been following this horse for quite some time,” Sacco said.  “We took him for $7,500 three-back and he’s been great.

“After his first race for us he came back with a swollen eye, so obviously something got in there during the race.  One week later the starter race came back and he was jumping out of his skin.  His eye was fine so we decided to take a shot and he ran huge.”

In that starter allowance, Quepos sat near the back of the pack before advancing around the far turn and drawing away to a length win at the wire.

“He’s an old pro,” Sacco said, “and should have plenty of pace to run at with Moya’s horse (Zealevo) and Partyallnightlong in there.  Hopefully he’ll be running on in the stretch.”

After Quepos, Sacco saddles Dancing Lion in the $60,000 Charles Hesse III Handicap and will be adding some new equipment for Saturday’s race.

“He’ll go with blinkers on,” Sacco said.  “He worked with them the other day and really responded.  He’s run great this year, but has had two tough beats.  Hopefully the blinkers will change that.  There is some speed in the race, so I expect him to be sitting just off that in the second flight.  He’s a real nice 3-year-old and this looks like a wide open event.”

Gabriel Saez, who has enjoyed a solid season in his first meet at Monmouth, has the call on Dancing Lion, a gelding by 1997 Haskell winner Touch Gold.  The Hesse Handicap is set for a mile and a sixteenth on the Monmouth main track.

In addition to Sacco’s three stakes runners, he’ll saddle Lucky Year in the opener and Iron Dale Al in the fourth race.

“It’s a great day of racing,” Sacco said.  “I’m glad to be a part of the Jersey-bred program and happy that I have some very nice J-breds to support the day.”

Gates open for New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival Day at 11:30 a.m., with the first race slated for 12:50 p.m.




In addition to seeing the best runners bred in New Jersey compete on Saturday, fans will be able to leave with a little something more as all paid admissions will receive a commemorative NJ Thoroughbred Festival cooler bag.

Also on tap for Saturday are drawings for a prize package to include a VIP tour of the paddock, an opportunity to watch the race from the winner’s circle and a $50 betting voucher.

Complementing the giveaways will be a full slate of family fun activities, including pony rides, bounce houses, face painters and more to entertain the kids.

Gates open Saturday at 11:30 a.m. with first post set for 12:50 p.m.




With no lone ticket selecting all winners of Sunday’s last six races, the Jersey Shore Six carryover is now at $16,603.22 for Saturday’s race card.

The Jersey Shore Six, which made its debut at Monmouth this year, is a 10-cent base wager.  To win the jackpot, a ticket must have the winner of the last six races on the card and be the only one to have done so.  If more than one person has a winning ticket, they split 60% of the net pool with 40% going to the carryover. The Jersey Shore Six comprises the last six races of every card at Monmouth Park.






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