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Almanaar Keeps Synchrony at Bay in Monmouth

Almanaar Keeps Synchrony at Bay in Monmouth

OCEANPORT, NJ – Shadwell Stable’s homebred Almanaar took control off of the far turn and then kept the favored Synchrony at bay with a sneaky drift to secure victory in Saturday’s $200,000 Monmouth Stakes (G2) at Monmouth Park.

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Breaking from post 2 under “Jersey Joe” Bravo at 2/1 odds, Almanaar took back early and watched as Irish Strait shot out to a multiple-length lead while posting fractions of :23.73, :47.78, and 1:10.89. Midway down the backstretch, Almanaar suddenly shot forward down the middle of the track, getting all the way up to second, just off of the leader’s heels.

Continuing to run strongly in the far turn, Almanaar soon met Irish Strait’s gaze and began inching away at the top of the stretch. As Bravo began applying the right-handed whip, Almanaar responded by drifting out to his right. That movement caused the 9/5 bettors’ choice Synchrony – who had just tipped out and was beginning to close in – to have to move even farther outside in search of free run.

Once Almanaar straightened out, Synchrony began grinding away, but he just ran out of real estate. Almanaar dug down to win by a neck in a final time of 1:45.75 for the 1 1/8-mile event over the firm turf course, giving trainer Chad Brown his third straight Monmouth Stakes score.

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“He’s such a big, strong horse – he’s a beast, really,” said Bravo, who also won this race last year aboard the Brown-trained Money Multiplier in that horse’s second straight time winning this race. “I didn’t want to make that big middle move, but he was fresh and wanted to do it, and he’s so strong I didn’t want to get into a tug of war with him. If you saw him in the post parade, he was ready to run. I thought if I tried to fight him down the backside when he made that move, I was just going to take more energy out of him. I was trying not to fight with him. He drifted in the stretch a little, but it wasn’t anything major. By the time (Synchrony) got up to us, he had straightened himself out.”

Synchrony’s jockey Trevor McCarthy didn’t agree with Bravo’s sentiment about the drift not being “anything major” – he lodged an objection after the race, though the stewards ultimately dismissed it. It was 4 1/4 lengths back to third, where Force the Pass made a mild rally to take that position over Monarchs Glen and a weakening Irish Strait. MarkitoffProjected, and Up the Ante completed the order of finish.

Almanaar’s win was his fourth on the group/graded level, having taken a pair of G3 events at Chantilly, France, in 2015 (under then-trainer Freddy Head) and the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) in 2017. The British-bred 7-year-old gelded son of Dubawi, who sports a record of 20-7-4-3 with $810,349 earned, had been absent since finishing sixth in the Ft. Lauderdale Stakes (G2) last December.

“He has been training very well at Belmont, so even though he has been off, we expected him to run well,” said assistant trainer Luis Cabrera. “Chad liked this horse a lot in this spot. He’s a runner, a real classy horse. I was thinking he moved a little too early, but he wanted to go. When he wants to go, you have to let him run.”

Almanaar returned $6.80 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3 to show. Synchrony brought back $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show, while Force the Pass paid $9.40 to show.

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