From a Monmouth Park release
Grade 1 winner Lochte looks to grab his third career graded stakes win and first at Monmouth Park in the Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes on Sunday, going a mile and one-eighth on the turf.
Lochte, owned by Crossed Sabres Farm and trained Marcus Vitali, is coming off a nightmare trip last time out in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico on Preakness Day. Lochte found himself four-wide and behind horses the entire backstretch and tried to make a move turning for home, having to go seven-wide into the stretch.
“It was just a miserable trip for him from start to finish,” said Vitali. “Being behind a wall of horses right from the break made him go wide the entire trip. He didn’t have his normal kick for home left.”
The five-year old gelding, by Medaglia d’Oro out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Kiss, hasn’t worked since May 4, going four furlongs over the fast Monmouth main track in :50 2/5.
“He has been eating well and doing great since coming back from Maryland,” said Vitali. “He seems to run better coming off short layoffs in the past, so I don’t think he will have any problem on Sunday after running three weeks ago.”
Lochte had one of his best career wins off a short layoff back in January, where he won the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, after coming off a fifth place finish in the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale at Gulfstream Park just 14 days prior.
Grabbing his first graded stakes over the Monmouth turf will be no easy task. Lochte will have to take down Triple Threat, a Group 2 winner in France, and Legendary, winner of the 2014 Knickerbocker at Belmont Park.
“He runs his best race coming from right off the pace,” said Vitali. “We will look for him to sit either third or fourth in the early stages.”
Lochte came from right off the pace for his lone Grade 1 victory as he stormed home at 35-1 in the 2014 rendition of the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.
The Monmouth will be race 11 in Sunday’s 12-race card.