OCEANPORT, NJ – Ten Strike Racing and Madaket Stables’ Warrior’s Charge was promoted to first via DQ after Pirate’s Punch impeded him late in Saturday’s $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park.

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Warrior’s Charge was bet down to 1/2 favoritism in the field of four as he broke from post 2 under Paco Lopez. With Pirate’s Punch pressuring him from the outside, Warrior’s Charge posted opening fractions of :24.10, :47.46, and 1:11.17.

Pirate’s Punch ranged up in the far turn to challenge for the lead and the two straightened for home heads apart. Pirate’s Punch held a narrow advantage midway home, but Warrior’s Charge began to re-rally along the rail.

Pirate’s Punch drifted in at the 1/16 pole and forced Lopez to slam hard on the brakes. Though Pirate’s Punch crossed 1 1/2 lengths clear in a final time of 1:43.37 for the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route, the stewards didqualified Pirate’s Punch back to second for the late interference.

Pirate’s Punch (3) forces Warrior’s Charge (2) to steady (Credit: Bill Denver / Equi-Photo)

“He came in on me pretty good,” Lopez said regarding the disqualification. “I had to steady because of him. I had to completely stand up and stop riding. He came over. I think the stewards did the right thing. I had to completely stop riding my horse. I think my horse was still trying hard. I think if had a little room he would have come back to win because he’s a fighter. You can see on the head-on how it bothered us and why I had to stop riding. That hole was there and then it closed very quickly when that horse came over on us.”

Bal Harbour, the 9/5 second choice, failed to menace and took third over Just Whistle to complete the order of finish.

Mind Control and Wait for It were both scratched.

Warrior’s Charge’s win was his second of the year following the Razorback Handicap (G3) and improved his overall record to 11-5-1-3. The The 4-year-old Florida-bred Munnings colt has now earned $835,310.

“He will ship back to Kentucky tomorrow and we’ll see how he is,” said winning trainer Brad Cox, who indicated that the Breeders’ Cup Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile (G1) remains the year-end goal. “I think we’ll look at one more but we’ll see how he comes out of this first.

Warrior’s Charge returned $3 to win and $2.10 to place, while Pirate’s Punch paid $3.20 to place. There was no show betting.