There’s one fact about Monday’s $100,000 Choice Stakes that
definitely falls under the heading of “oddity.” That would be that a Glenn
Thompson-trained horse is bringing an unbeaten record on the Monmouth turf into
the route for 3-year-olds.
Two Notch Road,
owned by Thompson in partnership with breeder James Hackman, is three-for-three
on the Monmouth green, including a win in the Continental Mile Stakes, where he
broke his maiden at a $216.40 mutuel.
And his backers deserved every nickel of that price, because before that race
last Aug. 15, Thompson had a less-than-stellar record on the turf.
“I hate to admit this,” said Thompson with a sheepish grin, “but before Two Notch Road won
the Continental Mile, I hadn’t won a turf race since 1984!”
Like 25 years ago, 1984?
“Yes, it was a long time,” Thompson said. “It got so bad that every time I
entered a horse in a turf race, my assistant and my entire crew would cringe.
They feared the worst, and the worst is what always happened. Weird stuff that
you never think about. But always something.”
Two Notch Road,
a Virginia-bred son of Partner’s Hero * Capiana, by Capote, changed all that in
a little more than a minute and a half last August.
“I had been dying to get him on the grass,” Thompson said, “even with my
record. I knew he would really improve on the turf. It was quite a way to break
Two Notch Road
won both his allowance starts at Monmouth this year, and last out ran a very
game third in the Grade 2 Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs. Now he’s back to
his favorite track, with regular rider Shannon Uske back aboard.
“He seems to thrive on the firm course here,” Thompson said. “He’s been going
to the front in some of his races, but he doesn’t really have to be on the
lead. He’s flexible, and I’ll leave strategy in the jockey’s hands. Shannon is great at getting him to relax.”
Thompson acquired Two Notch Road
from a yearling sale. Hackman, who has been one of his clients for several
years, put the horse in the sale. Bidding was light, and Thompson got the
youngster for $2,500. He thought the breeder would like to be part-owner, so he
traded Hackman a piece of Two Notch Road for a piece of the filly Cristiane,
who runs in the sixth race here Sunday.
Two Notch Road
is named for the road that runs next to the Aiken, S.C., training track, where
Thompson’s horses spend their winters.
“It’s a great place, and I’m fortunate to have clients who
let me take their horses there each year,” Thompson said. “You know Two Notch Road (the
street) in Aiken is famous. Some of the best horses in history have crossed it
when Greentree Stable and Woody Stephens and Mack Miller trained there.”
FIRST MONMOUTH TWILIGHT CARD SET FOR FRIDAY, JULY 9
Monmouth has scheduled three twilight racing cards in July, with the first
slated for Friday, July 9. The other twilight dates are July 16 and July 23.
First post for the twilight programs will be 2:10 p.m. However, Monmouth’s
gates will still open at 11:30 a.m. so fans can wager on the early simulcast
signals. Finger Lakes starts the simulcast
program at 12:35 p.m.