OCEANSIDE, NJ – Pin Oak Stable’s homebred Synchrony overcame a rough start to score big as the prohibitive 3-5 favorite in Sunday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.
Breaking from post 2 under New Jersey native Joe Bravo, Synchrony was squeezed back to the rear early after Mo Maverick crossed down from post 4 and crowded the inside horses. Once he settled, Bravo kept Synchrony relaxed on the inside while Mo Maverick set leisurely early splits of :25.56, :49.03, and 1:12.40. The field bunched together nearing the exit of the far turn, and as they turned for home, Mo Maverick drifted out enough to open a hole along the rail. Bravo saw his chance to push Synchrony through, and the Mike Stidham trainee responded with gusto. Drawing off with relative ease down the stretch, Synchrony crossed with a 2 1/4-length advantage in a final time of 1:42.05 for the 8 1/2-furlong event over the firm turf course.
“I got shut off at the start, got him to relax nicely behind horses going down the backside,” Bravo said. “Approaching the far turn, I was getting a little worried there would be no place to go. When the hole opened up along the rail, he exploded late.”
Though no match for the winner, Doctor Mounty was able to get up for second by 3/4 of a length over Irish Strait after stalking the early pace. Mo Maverick faded in the lane to finish fourth by a nose ahead of Kharafa, while Dover Cliffs and Force The Pass completed the order of finish.
Synchrony’s win was his third in a graded event and first since taking the Grade 2 Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds this past March. The 5-year-old intact son of Tapit now carries a record of 15-6-3-4 and career earnings of $556,552.
“He’s a very classy horse who showed up today like we thought he would,” Stidham said. “He was able to give that good turn of foot when he needed it. We’re not sure what’s next for him, but this is certainly what we needed to see to take the step back up in Grade 1 and Grade 2 company. Joe Bravo knows him really well. He got to know him at the Fair Grounds this winter and he’s a perfect fit for him. He got murdered at the start, but the horse has shown he can sit back or lay a little closer if they are going slow. Today, I was worried because they went :25.56 for the opening 1/4 (mile) and he was way back in the pack. But when you’ve got a lot of horse, the whole isn’t moving faster than you are. You’re moving faster than the whole.”
Synchrony returned $3.40 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.10 to show. Doctor Mounty brought back $11.20 to place and $5.60 to show, while Irish Strait paid $3 to show.