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Where's Sterling, Finale Win at Monmouth

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.



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