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OCEANSIDE, NJ – Trainer Patrick McBurney’s Golden Brown returned to the winner’s circle on Saturday in his second straight edition of the $75,000 Irish War Cry Handicap at Monmouth Park.
Golden Brown was the 6/5 second choice as he broke from post 8 under Paco Lopez and raced four-wide early. Shield of Faith set the initial pace, posting opening fractions of :24.31 and :48.25.
The even-money favorite Royal Urn improved from his inside stalking position to take the lead midway through the far turn, but Golden Brown was on his outside at the top of the stretch and wore his foe down in the stretch.
Drawing away at the 1/16 pole, Golden Brown was a clear winner by 2 1/4 lengths at the wire, completing the 1-mile fast dirt event in a final time of 1:38.58. The race, restricted to New Jersey-breds, was originally scheduled for 1 mile on turf.
“I had position outside, which is good for this horse,” Lopez said. “I had a clear run when I asked him to go, but (Royal Urn) made him work in the stretch. That’s a good horse that challenged him, but his class showed.”
Royal Urn was 2 lengths clear of Prendimi in third. Optic Way, Wallercito, and Shield of Faith completed the order of finish.
Desperado, Irish Strait, and Passport all scratched after the race was taken off of the turf.
Golden Brown’s win was his first since last August’s Charles Hesse III Handicap over the local dirt course against fellow state-breds. The 5-year-old Offlee Wild gelding improved his overall record to 22-8-3-2 with $545,500 earned for co-owners ABL Stable, Dominic Bossone, Peter Donnelly, and Nadine Schnoor.
“It’s very good to have him back,” McBurney said. “As for his season, depending on how he progresses, I’m hoping he will be able to handle open stakes company, but obviously, we have good New Jersey-bred races here and a whole series of them, so we’ll see how it plays out.”
Golden Brown returned $4.40 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Royal Urn brought back $2.40 to place and $2.10 to show, while Prendimi paid $3.20 to show.
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