Monmouth Park’s United Nations: Win and You’re In for a Horse and Fans

The United Nations (G1), which was run at Monmouth Park on Saturday, was a “Win and You’re In” race. With a gate to wire victory in the mile and three-eighths race, Turbo Compressor won a spot in the 2012 $3,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Championship.  Thanks to an innovative promotion at the Jersey Shore track 10 fans won a chance to wager $500 on the United Nations.
Ten Monmouth Park patrons were selected as winners of a $500 betting voucher that they were required to wager on the United Nations. What was different about this promotion was that they could make any kind of wager that was available on the race.  The group was made up of casual racing fans and more serious bettors. Several said that they “come to the races two or three times a year.” One gentleman said he comes “every Saturday.” Another jokingly admitted that he is at the track, “far too often.”
Of the ten names that were pulled only eight took part in the wager. One had already gone home. The other was a very serious gambler who declined the opportunity and unbelievably said, “I don’t have time for this because I have a lot of important bets to make.”
All of the participants came up with some way to guarantee that they would have at least one winning wager on the seven-horse field. Some of the bettors tried exactas and trifectas, but they found success with win, place, and show bets. The chart shows the bets that each person cashed. The leading bettor hit both of her $250 show tickets and brought home $900.  We all would love to be in that situation, right? Unfortunately my name did not get picked.
The racing was dominated by jockey ‘Jersey’ Joe Bravo. Bravo teamed with trainer Todd Pletcher to win the both the $200,000 Monmouth Cup (G2) and the $500,000 United Nations.
First Bravo guided third choice Rule to a length and half victory in the Monmouth Cup over multiple graded stakes winner Flat Out. Bravo was impressed with his horse’s effort after a nine-month layoff, “He came out of the gate with running on his mind. I don’t care how long the layoff, this horse was ready to go the minute the gates opened.  He was doing it very easy, all the way down the backstretch.  Todd had him ready to run and I just steered him around the track.” 
Just as he had done three weeks earlier in the Colonial Turf Cup, Bravo guided Turbo Compressor to a front running victory, “I was just a passenger today.  This horse just keeps getting stronger as he gets older.  He was a good dirt horse and now he’s a great turf horse.  Pace makes the race and we were able to get out there and control it on our terms.  He was nice and relaxed the whole way and really kicked on in the lane when I called on him.”
This was the first time that the talented turf rider had won the United Nations.  It is only fitting as Bravo has been winning major turf events all over the country. “What a day,” said Bravo. “I’m very fortunate to have ridden two great horses this afternoon.  Todd is simply the best.”
The Breeders’ Cup team has developed the Challenge races as sites where the “Win and You’re In” berths can be won and today Turbo Compressor got one of them.  Monmouth Park used the $500 wager as an innovative way to generate interest and excitement at the racetrack. Today eight fans brought home money, appeared on the in-house television feed, and spent time in the winner’s circle.  
Meet Matt Shifman

In the 70s I was another one of those kids that went to the track with their fathers, and I immediately became enthralled with the excitement and challenges of handicapping.  And then the charisma and dominance of Secretariat gave me a hero to follow. To this day, I still get emotional when I hear Chic Andersons call of the 1973 Belmont, Secretariat is moving like a tremendous machine.

There have been many great horses run at the shore. In 1976 I watched Majestic Light win the Monmouth Invitational, now the Haskell, in track record time, defeating Honest Pleasure, the big favorite who was in from New York.  This was one of my first big wins at the track.
In the 80s, as a disciple of Andy Beyer, I made my own speed figures because they were not available to the public. Needless to say I visited Monmouth frequently to test out the figs.
The 90s allowed me to learn about the backstretch as a part owner of a few claimers that were stabled at Philadelphia Park.  Not a typical owner, I mucked stalls, cooled out the horses, and watched morning works.  Also, I met my wife and discovered that her grandfather bred, owned, and raced thoroughbreds on the West Virginia, Maryland circuit.  Today our office is decorated with winners circle pictures and a vast collection of Kentucky Derby glasses.
Todays electronic age makes it so easy to gather information about racing.  I hope you use this blog to learn about Racing at the Jersey Shore.


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