Pants On Fire rewarded his backers
who sent him off as the 2-5 favorite, taking the $75,000 Skip Away Stakes by a
length as Malibu Way captured the $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes at Monmouth Park
Racing in the colors of George and
Lori Hall, Pants On Fire sat off early fractions of :23 2/5 for the quarter and
:47 for the half-mile before assuming command at the head of the stretch and
holding off the late challenge of Norman Asbjornson.
“He broke well from the gate, but
when the dirt started hitting him in the face, he didn’t really like it,” said
winning jockey Paco Lopez, who rode five winners on Monmouth’s Saturday card.
“Around the 5/8ths pole I made a little move and then ran into traffic around
the 3/8ths. I was able to find a little hole and he ran right through. He was
the best horse in the race. I knew the second horse was coming, but he was
never going to get by us.”
Pants On Fire, returned $2.80, $2.20
and $2.10 and topped the $6.60 exacta. Norman Asbjornson returned $2.80,
$2.20. It was another 4 ½ lengths back to Cactus Charlie, who paid $6.60
“It wasn’t as easy a race as the 2-5
odds showed,” said winning trainer Kelly John Breen. “I did not give much in
the way of instructions to Paco, I just told him to ride his race. On paper,
and the way the race unfolded he had to earn it. It was a good race for him.
We’ll look at the Monmouth Cup (Grade 2 on July 7 at one mile here). It’s our
home track and the Halls support Monmouth Park, so that’s likely our next
Pants On Fire stepped the mile and a
sixteenth over the fast main track in 1:43.56 as he earned his second victory
of the year. The 4-year-old colt by Jump Start from the Cape Town mare
Cabo de Noche has now banked $933,060 for his connections.
In the $60,000 Lamplighter Stakes,
Lael Stable’s Malibu Way overcame a pedestrian pace on a turf course rated
“good” and made a bold run through the stretch to wear down Heavy Breathing
right before the wire and prevailed by a neck.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, the Christophe
Clement-trainee was making only his third career start and his first try in
stakes company. Dispatched as the 2-1 second choice in the field of seven
3-year-olds, Malibu Way covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.1 and returned
$6.60, $3 and $2.60. Heavy Breathing, the odds-on favorite, paid $2.60
and $2.20 and completed the $14.80 exacta. It was another length and a
half back to Crafty Unicorn, who paid $3.40 to show.
“They were pretty confident with
this horse when he ran at Gulfstream this year,” said Bravo. “I rode him with that
confidence knowing he’s had a little more experience today. Turning for home, I
was saying to myself, ‘Thank God I’m sitting on this horse.’ He’s very talented
and it looks like he’s got a bright
Malibu Way, by First Samurai out of
the Red Ransom mare Redmond, now has two wins and one second from three
lifetime starts. The stakes win was the second in two tries for Clement-trained
horses so far this meet.