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OCEANPORT, NJ – After suffering his first off-the-board defeat in the Poker Stakes (G3) at Belmont Park, Candido Esquivel’s Raased returned victorious by 19 1/4 wide-open lengths in Sunday’s sloppy (sealed) off-turf edition of the $100,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.
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Raased was the 1/5 odds-on choice under jockey Heriberto Figueroa after the field was scratched down to four runners from nine entries.
The Alison Escobar trainee sat off Island Commish‘s early pace before taking command halfway through and cruising home in hand to win the 1 1/16-mile route in 1:44.43.
“I had 100% confidence in this horse whether it stayed on the turf or was in the slop and off the grass, but when they changed to the dirt and it was sloppy, I knew I had a really big chance, especially in a four-horse field,” Figueroa said. “He loves the slop. His other race in the slop, he won by 10 1/2 lengths, so I was happy when they changed it. … This is my first stakes win since I came to Monmouth Park. It feels really good. I’m a new guy here, so I hope some people notice.”
Crown and Sugar, Island Commish, and Ballagh Rocks completed the strung-out order of finish.
Analyze It, Belgrano, Epic Dreamer, Hawkish, and Sacred Life scratched when the race was moved off the turf.
Raased’s win improved the 5-year-old intact son of Tapit’s record to 5-3-1-0 with $110,375 earned. He was late to get to reach the track – not debuting until this past February – but has made the most of it since arriving.
“I felt very excited when the race came off the turf,” Escobar said. “He has won on the turf – he broke his maiden on the turf – but he really likes the slop. He’s a good horse. He runs on any surface. He has shown us that. The horse is a good quality. I knew his last race (the Poker) was a tough race, but he deserved a shot. I had to try. This is the first stakes race I have won in the United States since I came here 3 years ago. It feels very good. I have won many stakes races in Puerto Rico, but to get the first one here feels great.”
Raased returned $2.40 to win and $2.10 to place. Crown and Sugar paid $5.40 to place. There was no show betting.
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