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Payton d'Oro Ready for Molly Pitcher

Payton d'Oro wins the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes
In 2010, it was his wife Cindy and Just Jenda.  A year later, trainer Larry Jones hopes that it will be Payton d’Oro who will get her picture taken in the Grade 2, $250,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Molly Pitcher Stakes.


A Grade 1-placed 5-year-old mare by Medaglia d’Oro, Payton d’Oro will enter Saturday’s race off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Ruffian at Saratoga – a race in which she was placed third via disqualification.


Despite a bit of an interrupted training schedule due to Hurricane Irene, Jones believes Peyton d’Oro has remained sharp in the week since the Hill ‘n’ Dale Molly Pitcher was originally scheduled.


“She’s pretty sharp right now,” Jones said.  “She was ready to run last week.  We had to alter our plans in terms of her training due to the storm.  There was no training at Delaware on Monday so we sent to gallop at a private facility where I have a bunch of young horses.  She was back at Delaware on Tuesday for her final blowout.”


Over a track that Jones called “really hard” that final blowout was a speedy three furlongs in :34 4/5.


“It wasn’t a bad work at all, but it wasn’t as fast as it looks on paper,” Jones said.  “The track was hard that day.  I sent horses out to gallop and they went :35 4/5.”


Despite running almost exclusively in stakes events over the past three seasons, this will be Payton d’Oro’s first trip to Monmouth Park.


“We had Just Jenda in the same crop as her,” Jones said.  “For now, Peyton d’Oro is doing very well.  We’re very happy with her.  She’ll jog up to the race and hopefully the next two days will go uneventfully for her.”


With an “on-the-board” finish on Saturday, Payton D’Oro will earn something more than just the corresponding portion of the purse.  This year’s 66th renewal of the Pitcher also features a stallion season to the top three finishers.  Hill ‘n’ Dale stallions Roman Ruler, Midnight Lute and Zensational are the offerings, with the winner of the Molly Pitcher having first choice. 


Roman Ruler, the 2005 Haskell Invitational winner, stands for $15,000.  A son of Fusaichi Pegasus, Roman Ruler, who is currently second on the third crop sires list, is the sire of 2011 Belmont Stakes winner Ruler on Ice.


Midnight Lute ($17,500) is a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, including the 2007 edition at Monmouth Park.  His first crop of horses are currently yearlings.


Zensational ($22,500) is the only horse to win three consecutive Grade 1 sprint races.  The son of Unbridled’s Song entered stud in 2010.






Monmouth Park Racetrack will play host to seven stakes races over the Labor Day weekend, including three graded events.


Beginning with Saturday’s card, Monmouth will host the Grade 2 $250,000 Hill ‘n’ Dale Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares, which has drawn a full field of nine.  Also on Saturday is the Grade 3 $100,000 Sapling Stakes, featuring 11 2-year-old colts.


On Sunday, a trio of stakes races are on tap, headlined by the Grade 3 $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes with a field of eight 3-year-old fillies on turf.  In addition, the $65,000 Junior Champion Stakes, with 10 entrants, will host 2-year-old fillies on turf as the eight-horse $65,000 Gilded Time Stakes showcases 3-year-olds sprinting on the lawn.


A special Labor Day card on Monday will feature a pair of stakes, with the $100,000 Sorority Stakes for 2-year-old fillies topping the action along with the $75,000 Omnibus stakes for fillies and mares on turf.


The 2011 Monmouth Park meeting runs through Sunday, Nov. 6.  Following Monday’s Labor Day card, the racetrack will host live racing on Saturdays and Sundays with the addition of Monday, Oct. 10 (Columbus Day) and Friday, Nov. 4 (Breeders’ Cup).






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