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Sierra Ancha Upsets Charles Hesse III 'Cap

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An upset in the $60,000 Charles Hesse III Handicap topped the 11th annual New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival at Monmouth Park on Sunday as Geeky Gorgeous and Princess Perfect took the two other stakes events on a day restricted to the best runners bred in the Garden State.

Owned by Ramona Barney and trained by Ed Barney, Sierra Ancha closed with a rush down the center of the track to top In God’s Country by a half-length at the wire.  The runner-up claimed foul against the winner for interference in the lane, but the stewards allowed the results to stand.  The winner returned $27.40, $12.20 and $6.  In God’s Country completed the $490.40 exacta and paid $15.40 and $6.20.  It was another neck back to Crafty Concorde, who returned $3.40 to show.

“I thought there was plenty of pace in the race to set him up,” said winning jockey Shannon Uske.  “I had a pretty good hold of him the whole way and he came running in the stretch.  It’s so cool to win a race like this.”

A homebred 4-year-old gelding by Mo Mon from the Evening Kris mare Cowboy Chili, Sierra Ancha has won three of 13 starts, good for earnings $134,125.

Geeky Gorgeous, the lone filly in the New Jersey Breeders’ Handicap, rallied down the stretch to post a two length win for owner/trainer/breeder Daniel J. Lopez.

Geeky Gorgeous covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09 4/5 and paid $8.60, $4.80 and $3.60 and topped a $52.80 exacta.  Gunfighter checked in second paying $7 and $4.80.  It was another half-length back to Saucy Don, who paid $7 to show.

“There’s a lot of great races all around the country today,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo, “but I’m here because of this filly.  She’s really come around and today was pretty impressive to do what she did against the boys.”

A 4-year-old daughter of Devil His Due from the Pure Prize mare Thatholeinmypocket, Geeky Gorgeous has won seven of her 14 starts, good for earnings of $306,140 for her connections.

In the $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap, Somraj Singh’s Princess Perfect took command right from the start and never looked back, reporting home a length and a half winner.

Trained by Claudio Gonzalez, Princess Perfect went the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:46 1/5 and paid $20.40, $6.60 and $3.60.  First Acquital completed the $117.60 exacta and returned $5 and $3.60.  It was another 10 ¼ lengths back to Elba, who paid $3.40 to show.  Ima Jersey Girl, the odds-on favorite and defending champion, failed to fire and was eased through the stretch.

“I was told to see how she breaks and take it from there,” said winning jockey Victor Santiago.  “If she came out running I wasn’t going to take a hold, but just let her go.  I urged her a little soon after the start and then she relaxed nicely.  From there she cruised all the way.”

A 5-year-old mare by Crafty Friend from the Better Arbitor mare Cassidy’s Code, Princess Perfect has won three starts this year.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, Sept. 22 – gates open 11:30, first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2013 race meet runs through Sunday, Oct. 6.






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