Cliff Hanger Stakes 2013 Contenders at Monmouth Park

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: August 22, 2013 -- 8:34 PM ET

Las Vegas, NV - Monmouth Park on the Jersey Shore will play host to the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes this Sunday, August 25. Horses three years old and upward will be featured in this 1 1/16 mile turf test as they chase the winner's portion of the $100,000 purse.

The Cliff Hanger has attracted a field of seven older entries to go in race 10 on Monmouth Park's Sunday card. Post time is 5:33 PM. Let's take a brief look into the past performances of all seven combatants for this Grade 3 stakes.

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2013 Cliff Hanger Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Summer Front - Christophe Clement trainee is coming off a terrific win in the Grade 3 Miami Mile at Calder in April after a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming in March and a brief layoff. He ended 2012 with a sixth in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby after a pair of thirds in Grade 1 races - the Jamaica and the Secretariat Stakes. She also had a win in the Grade 3 Hill Prince over Howe Great and the minor Duluth Stakes last year. Hopes are that he can return to the consistently stellar results we saw at the end of 2011 and during the 2012 campaign and given his result last time out he could be on his way.

Howe Great - He had an impressive streak of four straight wins including the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes interrupted with a fifth in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April and had some good results after that. In September Howe Great was a very good second in the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby but he stumbled to a pair of sevenths - in the Grade 1 Jamaica Handicap at Belmont Park October 6 and in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream February 23. Since then he has a win (an Allowance at Keeneland in April) and a fourth and comes into the Cliff Hanger having finished second in consecutive races - the Grade 3 Oceanport last time out and the Grade 3 Poker Stakes behind the impressive Kin Kreesa July 4. He has been knocking on the door and should be right in the mix Sunday.

Cliff Hanger Stakes 2013 | Remaining Contenders

Hudson Steele - Todd Pletcher trainee won his first two starts of 2012 including the Grade 2 Dixie in May and went on to a fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap and a sixth in the Grade 1 Man o' War. He then endured 11 months away and returned June 22 to a very nice win in the minor Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial Downs. Last time out was a respectable third in the Grade 3 Oceanport on this track July 28 behind Howe Great. He is consistently forced to the sidelines but has a knack of returning with a bang each and every time.

Sleepless Knight Kelly Breen trainee was third in this race in 2011 but is coming off an ugly ninth in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Saratoga July 24 after a respectable second in the minor Elkwood Stakes on this track three weeks earlier. He won an Allowance at Delaware Park in June after a close fourth in his last graded stakes action - the Grade 3 Red Bank here in May. He has a win, a second and two third place finishes in seven starts this year but has only one win in the last 20 months.

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Tune Me In - came out of nowhere and won the Grade 3 Oceanport on last year and followed that win another impressive score on this track in last year's Cliff Hanger in September - the last time he tasted victory. He followed that with an OK third in the Grade 3 Knickerbocker Stakes in October, a fifth in the minor If Winter Comes Stakes and an ugly twelfth to close out 2012 back in December in the El Prado Stakes. He has four starts in 2013 for trainer Bruce Alexander - a nice second in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes here May 18 but has struggled in the last three - sevenths in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes and the Grade 3 Oceanport sandwiched a third in the minor Elkwood Stakes July 5. Tune Me in has been up and down but when up has looked very good - particularly on this track.

Fire Alarm - makes his graded stakes debut in the Cliff Hanger off a pair of second place finishes - an Allowance Optional Claiming last time out on this track and a Claiming at Churchill Downs in June. He raced three minor stakes races on this track in summer 2012 with a second in the Jersey Derby being his only on-the-board finish - this after a ninth in his only graded stakes try - the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in April 2012.

Hobo Ridge - has 37 career starts with seven wins but Sunday marks his first stakes race. He enters having won twice and finished second twice in his last four starts overall. In eight starts this year Hobo Ridge has two wins and three seconds in eight starts but Sunday is certainly an enormous step up in competition.

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