While short fields in
graded stakes races have been common the last couple of weekends, Monmouth Park has come up with two very
interesting and competitive contests in the Salvatore Mile (G3) and the United
The United Nations Stakes was first run in 1953, at a distance of 1 3/16 miles at Atlantic City Race Course. At the time Atlantic City was one of the few tracks in the country that had a turf course. Many of the best grass runners won the race there: Round Table, Dr. Fager, Hawaii, Run the Gantlet, Tentam, Halo, and Manila.
In 1999 the UN moved to Monmouth Park and changed to a distance of 1 3/8 Miles. Today the UN and the Haskell are the two grade one stakes run at the Jersey Shore.
The United Nations is the fourth Breeders’ Cup Challenge race of 2013, and the first in the United States. This “Win and You’re In” race guarantees the winner a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on November 2nd. There will be six more opportunities this year to get in to the Turf.
In 2013 there are a total of 67 Challenge races to be run around the world. Last year 45 horses took this path and actually went on to the Breeders’ Cup Championships.
The field for this year’s UN is headlined by Little Mike, who last year won three grade ones and over $2.6 million, including his stunning victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at 17-1. Little Mike looks to rebound from two uncharacteristically poor efforts in Dubai. Joel Rosario will try for yet another big race victory this year as he rides Little Mike for the first time.
The Coach, D. Wayne Lukas, enters Skyring after his stunning 24-1 gate to wire win in the Dixie at Pimlico on Preakness Day. Gary Stevens comes to New Jersey to try and continue the recent Hall of Fame magic that he and Lukas have had.
The 2011 United Nations winner, Teaks North, who won a recent overnight stake at Belmont, will hope to stay unbeaten in five tries on the Monmouth Park turf. Teaks North will be going from this race to the July Fasig-Tipton Horses of Racing Age sale as hip #347.
Willcox Inn finished a fast closing second to Skyring in the Dixie, which was a similar performance to his prior start at the Fair Grounds. He had my money on him in those two races. Did he have bad luck in those two races or is the runner-up finish becoming a habit? Will the added distance help to get Willcox Inn to the winner’s circle?
Big Blue Kitten comes in for the Ramseys and trainer Chad Brown. We all know that those connections excel on the grass. Little Mike’s former rider Joe Bravo gets the mount and Jersey Joe is always dangerous on his home turf. This Kitten’s Joy horse closed strongly to a second place last time out in the Monmouth Stakes.
The Salvatore Mile, which is placed on the card before the UN as race
10, drew a field of eight horses that love to get to the winner’s circle. Raging Daoust appears to be taking a
step up in class, but he has won five of six starts at Monmouth, including his
last in a sprint against the talented Pacific Ocean and Ponzi Scheme.
Lucy's Bob Boy leaves the friendly confines of Charles Town where he has won five
races in a row. You have to take note of his career record of 16: 13-3-0.
Trainer Phil Gleaves gets Joe Bravo to ride graded stakes winner Csaba. Csaba has won five of his last
six starts in Florida. Bowman's Beast brings his winning streak of four races from Parx. This $1,000 yearling
purchase has won over $100,000. Private Tale from the barn of trainer
Michael Trombetta comes to New Jersey for the first time. This one has six wins
and 11 money finishes in 16 career starts.
Todd Pletcher’s Discreet Dancer should be the favorite.
Prior to the troubled ninth place finish in the Met Mile, Discreet Dancer had
never finished out of the money, including a third in the Carter and a win in
the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Joel Rosario gets the mount with a chance to
sweep both of the graded stakes.
In addition to the great stakes races Monmouth
Park will have a tee-shirt giveaway, and a 12 race card with full fields. There will be a jockey autograph and memorabilia sale
and lots of family friendly activities throughout the weekend.