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OCEANPORT, NJ – Shadwell Stable homebred Almanaar returned from a 16-month layoff to successfully defend his title in Saturday’s $150,000 Monmouth Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park.
The 3/2 heavy favorite as he broke from post 4 under Joe Bravo, Almanaar trailed in the early running while Compound It posted opening fractions of :24.71, :48.82, and 1:12.93.
Bal Harbour took over command heading into the far turn as Almanaar’s Chad Brown stablemate Serve the King chases closely behind.
Bravo tipped Almanaar out five-wide midway through the far turn. and sent him to the front.
Stealing the lead near the 1/8 pole, Almanaar drew off to win the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route by 1 length in 1:49.22.
“It’s wonderful riding for great barns like this,” Bravo said. “Only Chad Brown does this. He’s amazing. Second time this year that he has done this in a stakes race at Monmouth Park by winning off a long layoff. He’s an old horse but he’s a trooper. He’s so strong and powerful that I just wanted to give him some daylight turning for home. Class prevailed.”
Serve the King took second over Bal Harbour by 2 1/4 lengths to give Brown the barn exacta.
Megacity, Sand Dancer, Changi, Mr. Alec, Fearsome, and Compound It completed the order of finish.
Monongahela was a Main Track Only entry.
Almanaar’s win came in his first start since winning last year’s running on May 25, 2019, and improved his career mark to 21-8-4-2, which includes winning the 2017 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) (now known as the Pegasus World Cup Turf). The British-bred 8-year-old Dubawi gelding has now earned $900,349.
“He has been training well at Belmont the whole time,” said assistant trainer Luis Cabrera. “The guys there really like the way he has been training, so he has been doing well. These type of horses know what to do. They know where the wire is, so you don’t worry about the layoff with those types, and he has a lot of class; we know that. He ran great. I’m very happy with his performance. I can’t say I’m surprised because this horse has been training consistently. He has not missed a work. He was fit and he was ready. Chad always makes sure the horses are 100% ready to run.”
Almanaar returned $5 to win, $3 to place, and $2.20 to show. Serve the King brought back $4 to place and $2.80 to show, while Bal Harbour paid $3.40 to show.
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