- Cassatt — G3 Monmouth Oaks (MTH)
- Trained by Larry Jones for Fox Hill Farms, Inc.
- Dancing Roy — Robert G. Leavitt Memorial S. (CT)
- Trained by Tim Grams for Karen Steele
- Bred in West Virginia by Karen Steele
- Harlan’s Honor — Colleen S. (MTH)
- Trained by Cathal Lynch for David and Margaret Wimer
- Joya Real — Fort Monmouth S. (MTH)
- Trained by Kathleen DeMasi for Pewter Stable[/boxify]
In weekend stakes action…
- Cassatt grabbed the lead early in Saturday’s Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks and didn’t look back, controlling the pace before powering away to a nearly four-length score. The three-year-old daughter of Tapit, under rider Kerwin Clark, doled out moderate fractions and had just one moment of concern; nearing the stretch, Aqua Regia made a strong rail bid and may have actually put a nose in front at the quarter pole. But once Clark set Cassatt down, she responded readily to draw off for the win. Aqua Regia was disqualified to third for bothering Saintly Joan, who was elevated to second. Odds-on favorite Ria Antonia, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies champ, had the worst of the trip and was never much of a factor, finishing fourth. The win was Cassatt’s first in stakes company and third overall, from four starts. As to the future, trainer Larry Jones has options. “We might be a little too late getting her to the Breeders’ Cup, but you never know,” Jones said. “The Cotillion at Parx (Grade 1, Sept. 20) is a possibility and see if she can put herself in the Breeders’ Cup picture, but we’ll see how she comes out and let her tell us.”
- The anticipated showdown between undefeated runners Amherst Street and High N Dry in Saturday’s Robert Leavitt Memorial Stakes for state-breds at Charles Town never materialized. Amherst Street was scratched from the race, and though he ran, High N Dry was never much of a factor. Dancing Roy, on the other hand, was quite a factor, indeed. Under rider Oscar Flores, the three-year-old son of Dance With Ravens had a perfect trip, stalking the lead of Chasin Rush from second, then moving up two wide to take command and drawing off. It was the first stakes win for Dancing Roy, who now has four wins and a second from five starts, with earnings of $83,460. Pin High and Little Big Sime rounded out the trifecta, while High N Dry, who went off the favorite, finished sixth.
- Harlan’s Honor broke “like a rocket,” according to Monmouth Park announcer Travis Stone, and simply ran her eight rivals off their feet in the Colleen Stakes for two-year-old fillies. The daughter of Harlan’s Holiday, with Frankie Pennington aboard, led every step of the way en route to a four-length score over Perpetual Novena. She set down an opening quarter of 21 3/5 seconds and a half-mile in 44 1/5, finally stopping the timer in 56.03 for five furlongs on the grass. She’s now won two of three career starts and earned $63,250. “She was ready to go right from the start and I just wanted to keep her happy,” Pennington said.
- Joya Real seemed to be beaten, toiling in fifth place late in Sunday’s Fort Monmouth Stakes for fillies and mares three-years-old and up. But, taken to the outside by rider Kendrick Carmouche, she exploded through the lane, catching them all en route to a one-length win over Allaboutcaroline, with Wellingtons Appeal third. Joya Real, a five-year-old daughter of Eddington, registered the first stakes win of her career and has now won four of five starts this season. Her overall record is 19-7-4-2. Favored Ju Ju Eyeballs faded to seventh. “Kathleen [trainer DeMasi] told me in the paddock that the filly would take me there; I just had to find a way to get from the starting gate to the quarter pole,” Carmouche said. “They went fast enough up front and she came with her run. I just sat back and enjoyed the ride.”
Frankie Pennington, who guided Harlan’s Honor to victory in the Colleen Stakes, has taken a clear lead in the Parx Racing jockey standings. The journeyman has won 91 times at the Bensalem oval, well clear of Jose Delgadillo, who has 73 wins. He also has a clear lead in the money stats, with earnings there of more than $2.6 million. Pennnington’s best season was 2010, when he won 203 races and had purse earnings of more than $6 million.
- Juan Vazquez received a 90-day suspension on June 25 after causing an altercation with jockey Trevor McCarthy at Delaware Park — which might make it odd to see his name atop the trainer standings there. Vazquez appealed the ruling, and the stewards stayed the suspension until the Racing Commission could review it, which has not yet happened. The state Racing Commission is scheduled to discuss the matter on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Vazquez has won 24 races (from 122 starts), giving him a four-race cushion over Scott Lake.