Grade 1 winner Lochte looks to grab his third career graded stakes win and first at Monmouth Park in the Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes on Sunday, going a mile and one-eighth on the turf.
Lochte, owned by Crossed Sabres Farm and trained Marcus Vitali, is coming off a nightmare trip last time out in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day. Lochte found himself four-wide and behind horses the entire backstretch and tried to make a move turning for home, having to go seven-wide into the stretch.
“It was just a miserable trip for him from start to finish,” said Vitali. “Being behind a wall of horses right from the break made him go wide the entire trip. He didn’t have his normal kick for home left.”
The five-year old gelding, by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Kiss, hasn’t worked since May 4, going four furlongs over the fast Monmouth main track in :50 2/5.
“He has been eating well and doing great since coming back from Maryland,” said Vitali. “He seems to run better coming off short layoffs in the past, so I don’t think he will have any problem on Sunday after running three weeks ago.”
Lochte had one of his best career wins off a short layoff back in January, where he won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, after coming off a fifth place finish in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park just 14 days prior.
Grabbing his first graded stakes over the Monmouth turf will be no easy task. Lochte will have to take down Triple Threat, a Group 2 winner in France, and Legendary, winner of the 2014 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park.
“He runs his best race coming from right off the pace,” said Vitali. “We will look for him to sit either third or fourth in the early stages.”
Lochte came from right off the pace for his lone Grade 1 victory as he stormed home at 35-1 in the 2014 rendition of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
The Monmouth will be race 11 in Sunday’s 12-race card.
PERPETUAL NOVENA GOES FOR FIRST STAKES WIN IN CRANK IT UP
Perpetual Novena looks for her first career stakes win as she takes on 10 other three-year-old fillies going five and a half furlongs on the turf in Saturday’s $60,000 Crank It Up Stakes.
“She likes the turf and has been training well for us,” said Eddie Plesa Jr., who trains the horse for Rick Shanley.
Perpetual Novena, by Majestic Warrior out of the Omega Code mare Viola Blew By, has worked three times over the Monmouth dirt since returning from Gulfstream Park. Her latest coming on May 31, going four furlongs in :52.
This will be Perpetual Novena’s second career start on the Monmouth turf. She finished second in the 2014 Colleen Stakes behind Harlan’s Honor, who will be breaking just to the outside of Perpetual Novena in the Crank It Up.
“It all depends on the break for her,” said Plesa Jr. “She doesn’t have to be on the lead. She likes to sit just off the pace.”
Perpetual Novena’s last race was back in April, where she pressed the pace early, but finished fifth by 2 ¾ lengths in a $42,000 allowance going five furlongs on the turf at Gulfstream Park.
Harlan’s Honor isn’t the only stakes winner Perpetual Novena has to get by on Saturday. She will have to face the likes of Lady Shipman, who is the 5/2 morning line favorite, Ancient Goddess and War Alert, who have all won stakes either in the US or across the pond in Europe.
Perpetual Novena will be breaking from the five post and 10-1 in the morning line odds. The Crank It Up will be race 11 on Saturday’s 12-race card. Gates open early at 11a.m. First post 12:50p.m.
45TH ANNUAL IRISH FESTIVAL SUNDAY, JUNE 7 AT MONMOUTH
The 45th annual Irish Festival will return to Monmouth Park this Sunday, June 7. Enjoy a beautiful day of live racing highlighted by Irish step dancing, crafters, food, and a pipe and drum competition. Three different stages throughout the park will host music from the Emerald Isle all day long.
Patrons will also get a chance to enjoy the fan-favorite Human Horse Race, where 12 runners will break from the gate in a sprint on Monmouth’s main track for charity, each in his or her own saddle cloth.
Monmouth Park’s Family Fun Day will continue as well with face painting, pony rides, and a bounce house in the picnic area.
The day kicks off early with a special Irish Mass at 11 a.m. on the first floor of the Grandstand.
Gates will open on Sunday at 10 a.m., with first post slated at 12:50 p.m.
Source: Monmouth Park