Trainer Chad Brown will send out a pair of turf specialists, Projected & Almanaar, in a field of eight entered for the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes on Saturday, May 25, as Monmouth Park kicks off its graded stakes program with a 13-race card to open the Memorial Day weekend.
Projected, who missed winning the Cliff Hanger Stakes by a head on May 4 at Monmouth Park, and Almanaar will represent Brown's stable in the 12th running of the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the grass.
The Monmouth Stakes headlines the track's first bundled stakes program of the year, which includes the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, the Boiling Springs Stakes and the John J. Reilly Handicap for Jersey-breds.
||Monarchs Glen (GB)
||Up the Ante
||Jorge Vargas, Jr.
||Force the Pass
|Jorge Duarte, Jr.
Projected finished third in the Monmouth Stakes a year ago. Antonio Gallardo is scheduled to ride, with Joe Bravo named on Almanaar.
Diamond King, coming off a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic, Bal Harbour and Sunny Ridge top a nine-horse field for the 72nd edition of the Salvator Mile, which carries a $150,000 purse.
Trained by John Servis, Diamond King was third in the Ohio Derby a year ago.
Bal Harbour, trained by Todd Pletcher, and Sunny Ridge, the 2018 New Jersey Thoroughbred of the Year, help make up what looks to be a balanced field for the Salvator Mile.
Brown will also saddle Beautiful Lover and Clause in the 42nd running of the Boiling Springs Stakes, which will be contested at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf. Eleven horses plus one alternate are entered for the Boiling Springs.
The John J. Reilly Handicap, at six furlongs, attracted a field of seven.
First race post time for all three live cards over the Memorial Day weekend is 12:50 p.m.
NYRA partners with Monmouth Park for Saturday's Cross Country Pick 5
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will again host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, May 25, featuring racing action from beautiful Belmont Park and Monmouth Park in Oceanport, New Jersey.
The first three legs of the sequence kick off at Monmouth Park, starting with the Grade 3, $150,000 Salvator Mile [Race 9, 4:31 p.m.] for 3-year-olds and up on the main track featuring a field of nine led by millionaire Sunny Ridge, who takes on recent Grade 2 Charles Town Classic runner-up Diamond King.
The second leg of the Cross Country Pick 5 boasts a field of 11 sprinting six furlongs on the Monmouth main track in Race 10 at 5:02 p.m. A contentious field of older sprinters is highlighted by 14-time winner Visionary Ruler.
In the third leg, the Grade 2, $200,000 Monmouth [Race 11, 5:32 p.m.] at nine furlongs on the turf, a classy field of eight includes the Chad Brown-trained duo of Almanaar and Projected. A Grade 1 winner of the 2017 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, Shadwell Stable's Almanaar was the runner-up in the 2018 Grade 1 Arlington Million and will make his seasonal debut in the Monmouth. Projected, a Juddmonte homebred, won the Grade 2 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup in 2017 and arrives at the Monmouth from a narrow head defeat to Hawkish at Monmouth in the Cliff Hanger.
The final two legs of the Cross Country Pick 5 shift to Belmont Park where the returning Fog of War headlines a field of eight in the $100,000 Paradise Creek [Race 9, 5:51 p.m.], a seven-furlong turf event for 3-year-olds. Owned by Peter M. Brant and trained by Brown, Fog of War was perfect in two juvenile starts including a victory over recent Grade 1 Preakness winner War of Will in the Grade 1 Summer at Woodbine. Steep opposition will be provided by Strike Silver, who won the Indian Summer last year for trainer Mark Casse and owner John C. Oxley; and the Grade 1-placed Mucho, who makes his turf debut for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
In the final leg, a field of 11 will sprint six furlongs on the inner turf in the Belmont Park nightcap [Race 10, 6:24 p.m.] for a purse of $85,000. Godolphin homebred Final Frontier, trained by Tom Albertrani and to be piloted by Jose Ortiz, is the lukewarm 3-1 morning-line favorite in the allowance-optional claiming tilt. By Ghostzapper and out of the Seeking the Gold broodmare Sahara Gold, Final Frontier is a full brother to multiple Grade 1-winner Better Lucky.
The minimum bet for the multi-track, multi-race wager is 50 cents. Wagering on the Cross Country Pick 5 is also available on track, on ADW platforms, and at simulcast facilities across the country. There will be a mandatory payout of the entire pool.
Leg A: Monmouth - Race 9 - G3 Salvator Mile (4:31 pm)
Leg B: Monmouth - Race 10 (5:02 pm)
Leg C: Monmouth - Race 11 - G2 Monmouth (5:32 pm)
Leg D: Belmont - Race 9 - Paradise Creek (5:51 pm)
Leg E: Belmont - Race 10 (6:24 pm)