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OCEANPORT, NJ – War Story showed some serious heart with his win in Saturday’s $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park. His win here today was the first of 2019 for the seven-year-old gelding who picked up his second career graded stakes win and his first win dating back to March of 2018.
The post-time favorite Coal Front shot to the front for the early lead and was followed closely by War Story and Lemonade Thursday. Bal Harbour sat a few lengths back followed by Moon Gate Warrior and Zanotti. Coal Front continued to control the pace, setting fractions of :23.58, :47.32, and 1:10. 81.
With a half-mile left to go, Bal Harbour started moving up on the outside and quickly took over the lead. War Story picked it up and pulled even with Bal Harbour by the top of the stretch while Coal Front quickly faded to make it a two-horse race. Bal Harbour kept trying, but War Story wouldn’t give up a step and matched Bal Harbour stride for stride. War Story battled on and finished a head in front of Bal Harbour. Coal Front finished twelve lengths back in third followed by Moon Gate Warrior in fourth.
It was a pretty clean trip,” said jockey Luis Saez. “I broke sharp and wanted to be pushing the favorite (Coal Front). When that other horse came to us (Bal Harbour) he really dug in and didn’t let him by.”
“The name says what he is. What a warrior. He’s the only one from American Pharoah’s class of 2015 that’s still going. It’s amazing to have a horse like this still going around. You don’t see that anymore,” said winning trainer Jorge Navarro. “It wasn’t an easy race. Not at all. We had home court advantage. He likes this track. What a big race he ran. He’s got a ton of heart and a ton ability, still at his age. He wants to do it. He’s a happy animal.”
War Story returned $16.00 to win, $5.40 to place, and $2.80 to show. Bal Harbour brought back $3.80 to place and $2.40 to show, while Coal Front paid $2.20 to show.
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