Team Valor International’s Crimson China sat patiently off fast fractions before rallying in the lane to post a length victory in the $70,000 Lamplighter Stakes as G.J. Stable’s Dabnabit took control out of the gate and never looked back to win the $65,000 John J. Reilly Handicap on Saturday at Monmouth Park.
Trained by H. Graham Motion, Crimson China covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:40 3/5 and returned $3, $2.10 and $2.10 as the solid choice in the field of five 3-year-old colts and geldings. Beachcombing completed the $5 exacta and paid $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show. It was another length and a half back to J Isle, good for a $3.40 show mutuel.
“The plan was to break well and sit a little closer to the speed than we were,” said winning rider Alan Garcia, “but the two frontrunners were going really fast in the first part of the race. I tapped him with the whip a couple of times before we got to the stretch and he took off. I mostly just hand rode him in the stretch.”
A son of Giant’s Causeway from the Mr. Greeley mare Parisian Affair, Crimson China entered the Lamplighter off a fifth-place finish to Santiva in the Grade 1 Bluegrass Stakes. Saturday’s win moved the colt’s record to 3-2-0 from six starts, good for earnings of $112,538.
In the Reilly, Dabnabit and jockey Pablo Fragoso went the six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:11 1/5 and paid $34.80, $13.60 and $9.60 across the board. It was a length and three-quarters back to the 5-2 favorite Gunfighter, who paid $4.40 and $3.40. The exacta returned $152.80. Hop Skip and Away, who finished another length and a half back, rallied to pay $9.80 to show. Crowd favorite Joey P. was near the pacesetter early, but faded to finish last of the 11 runners in the New Jersey-bred restricted race.
“I told Pablo [jockey Fragoso] this horse needs to be on the lead,” said winning trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. “Once he got to the front, I thought he had a good shot from there.”
A 6-year-old by Intidab from the Roman Reasoning mare Signa, Dabnabit boosted his lifetime bankroll to $230,221 after taking his fourth win in 25 starts.
Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, May 29. In addition, the track will host a special Memorial Day card on Monday, May 30. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. both days, with first post set for 12:50 p.m.