Las Vegas, NV - Monmouth Park in Oceanside, New Jersey will play host to the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes on Sunday, July 6. Horses three years old and upward will take to Monmouth Park's turf track and go 1 3/8 miles searching for the winner's share of the $500,000 purse.
A field of 10 older entries will take to the track in the United Nations Stakes - race 12 on Monmouth Park's Sunday card. Post time is 6:13 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 10 entries for this lucrative Grade 1 stakes - a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Turf.
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2014 United Nations Stakes Race Favorite Entries
Twilight Eclipse - is the world record holder at 1 1/2 miles on turf - won the Grade 2 William McKnight Handicap at 12 furlongs December 28 - a race he won in wire-to-wire fashion by seven lengths. He then went on to a win in February in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream. He took his show to Dubai where he finished a disappointing twelfth in a Group 1 stakes and returned to North America June 6 and finished an unflattering fourth in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational. He has 17 career starts with six wins, two seconds and a third place finish and has four wins and two seconds in 10 career graded stakes tries. Twilight Eclipse looks to get back into his early season form Sunday as the 5-2 morning line favorite when he leaves from post 3 with Jose Lezcano aboard.
Ghurair - Chad Brown trained colt made his North American debut May 3 and finished a disappointing eighth in the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park and followed that with a nice win in an Allowance Optional Claiming on that same track June 7. He had five starts in England which yielded two wins and a third place finish. His biggest win to date came in October, 2012 at Newmarket - in the Tattersalls Millions 2yo Trophy Stakes. He raced only two times in 2013 - the last start came back in May - a fourth place finish at York. He shipped to North America with some hype - a win last time out at least confirmed his status a tad. Ghurair looks for his first stakes victory in North America with the legend Gary Stevens aboard from gate 2 as the 3-1 morning line second choice.
United Nations Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders
Charming Kitten - Todd Pletcher colt was third in the Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland last April 13 after a good second in the Grade 2 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream March 3 and he raced to a ninth in the Kentucky Derby. After that he was a tad inconsistent - a host of off the board finishes in graded stakes action and a couple of good seconds in graded stakes company along the way including the Grade 2 Virginia Derby in July and in the Grade 3 Hawthorne Derby in November. Charming Kitten has six starts in 2014 - the best result coming last time out - a win in the minor Belmont Gold Cup Invitational June 6. He also has a pair of Allowance Optional Claiming scores this year to go along with a fourth, a fifth and a sixth in graded stakes action. He looks for his first graded stakes score Sunday as the third choice on the morning line - 9-2 odds with Joe Bravo in the reins from the rail.
Kaigun - Mark Casse trained gelding looked good at the end of 2013 - a second in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream, a good third in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs November 16 and an Allowance score at Woodbine in August. This after a disappointing ninth in the Queen's Plate and a pedestrian seventh in the Plate Trial Stakes. He has five starts in 2014 - an Allowance Optional Claiming score at Gulfstream February 22 followed a fourth in a similar race on that same track January 17. Last time out was a good second behind Real Solution in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes June 7 at Belmont Park which followed a fourth in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic May 3 and a good second in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile at Keeneland in April. He starts from post 7 looking for his first stakes win with Alan Garcia in the saddle at an intriguing 5-1 odds.
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Main Sequence - H Graham Motion trained gelding makes his North American debut Sunday having recorded four wins, three seconds and three third place finishes at home. He is coming off an eighth way back in October at Ascot and a pair of third in stakes races at Newbury and Kempton Park. Rajiv Maragh has been tabbed to ride Main Sequence from post 5 Sunday at 8-1 odds.
Lochte - Marcus Vitali trained gelding failed to place in his first two career starts but had hit the board in his other nine career starts including three wins, three seconds and three third place finishes - before last time out when he was a disastrous thirteenth as 2-1 favorite in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes June 8. Good results include a second in the Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita March 8, his best career performance - a win in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap at 39-1 odds February 9 and victories in two of his previous three starts - an Allowance Optional Claiming January 24 and a maiden win December 14 in his seventh career start. He has three wins, three seconds and two thirds in his last nine starts overall and will be looking for a bounce back from a hideous performance last time out. Orlando Boccachica has the mount from post 9 at 10-1 odds.
Winning Cause - Todd Pletcher trained colt placed in nine of 11 starts in 2013 - the best result coming April 20, 2013 - a terrific win at 15-1 in the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland but fell off to finish tenth in the Grade 3 Ogden Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland October 4. He has runner-up finishes in two of his last four starts - an Allowance at Keeneland April 13 and in the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park in May with an uncharacteristic seventh in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes sandwiched in there. Last time out was a decent third in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes June 8. Winning Cause has placed in three of his last four starts overall but hasn't tasted victory since July. Christopher DeCarlo gets the call from post 8 at 15-1 odds.
Side Glance - Australian group 1 winner has yet to place in a race this year in four starts including a fourth in the Dubai World Cup. He did have a win at Felington in November but hasn`t been great since. He finished a decent third in the Grade 3 Arlington Million Stakes in the US in August in his second North American start and also had a fourth in his first North American start - the Woodbine Mile. Side Glance has 35 career starts with eight wins, four seconds and seven third place finishes and looks in over his head in this one. Jamie Spencer has been tabbed to ride from the outside post at 15-1 odds Sunday.
Exclusive Strike - had nine starts in 2013 and had two straight wins heading into the Man O' War and two other seconds. He was third in the Man o' War July 13 and followed that with his worst career result - a ninth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer August 18. He ended 2013 with an OK third behind Imagining and Sky Blazer in the minor Bowl Game Stakes at Belmont Park October 10 and a distant tenth in the Grade 3 Red Smith Handicap November 16. Exclusive Strike has just one start this year - a second in an Allowance at Belmont Park in May. The Jason Servis gelding has placed in just one of three career graded stakes starts and looks to be in tough in this one. He will have Paco Lopez in the reins from gate 6 at 15-1.
Manchurian High - has 24 career starts for trainer Lilli Kurtinecz with six wins, two seconds and five third place finishes and enters having placed in his last five starts - a win, a second and three thirds. He has just three career graded stakes starts however - a sixth in the 2012 Grade 2 WL McKnight Handicap, an eighth and a third respectively in his first two career starts back in 2010. He steps up again into graded stakes company looking OK but overmatched slightly. Forest Boyce ride the longest shot in the field - 30-1 odds from gate 4.