Frank C. Calabrese’s Where’s Sterling collared Southern
Ridge in the stretch before pushing past to win the $250,000 Philip H. Iselin
Stakes by a length as Finale demolished his competition winning the $65,000
Continental Mile Stakes by 10 ½ lengths at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
Where’s Sterling stepped the mile and an eighth over the
fast main track in 1:48 2/5 and paid $8.20, $4.80 and $4 as the second choice
in the field of eight colts and geldings.
Southern Ridge, who rounded out the $76.80 exacta, paid $9.20 to place
and $6.80 to show. It was another 6 ¼ lengths
back to pacesetter Ponzi Scheme, who returned $3.60 to show.
“I was expecting the early pace to be a little faster,” said
winning trainer Nick Canani, “but Paco (jockey Lopez) rode the horse
perfectly. He always seemed like a horse
that wants to go a mile and eighth, or maybe even longer.”
“I just tried to keep him relaxed early on,” Lopez said. “At the 3/8ths pole I had him in the middle
and he was able to get past that horse (runner-up Southern Ridge) late.”
The Grade 3 Iselin victory marked the third in eight starts
for Where’s Sterling, a 4-year-old colt by Northern Afleet from the Benny the
Dip mare Twinkler. He has now earned
$224,110 for his connections.
In the Continental Mile, the Todd Pletcher trained Finale
broke last, moved to the lead down the backstretch and never looked back, stopping
the timer in 1:35 1/5 over the firm turf.
Finale returned $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 1-5 favorite in the field
of six 2-year-old colts. Channel Quest
rallied to complete the $27.80 exacta and paid $8.60 and $5.40. It was another 3 ¼ lengths back to No Play,
who paid $4.20 to show.
“He’s the kind of horse that makes you say ‘wow,’” said
winning jockey Joe Bravo. “He gives off
such confidence, and he backs it up with the way he runs. He ran away so easily today, he was so
impressive. He has a bright future.”
From four career outings, Finale sports two wins, both on
turf. The son of Scat Daddy from the
Lively One mare Twinkle races for the partnership of Tabor, Magnier and Smith.