Page McKenney, Money Multiplier star in Monmouth stakes

by | May 27, 2018 | Breaking, New Jersey, NJ Racing, Racing

Page McKenney took the G3 Salvator Mile. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

From a Monmouth Park release

Big efforts were required — and delivered — in a pair of graded stakes Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Money Multiplier lived up to his name by repeating as the winner of the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes on Saturday, putting an exclamation point on a stakes-filled card that resulted in the highest handle at Monmouth Park in nearly three years.

One race prior, fan favorite Page McKenney scored a mild upset to take the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, a $100,000 test that also served as the first event in the male route division of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH) Series. The win gives Page McKenney 10 points in the MATCH Series.

The hard-hitting Page McKenney rallied from well off the pace to capture the supporting feature, the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, scoring a half-length victory over Shaft of Light in the $100,000 event. It was the 8-year-old gelding’s 22nd career win in 56 starts and his first appearance at Monmouth Park.

Ridden by Horacio Karamanos, Page McKenney paid $17.60 to win and covered the mile in 1:36.49.

“I was hoping for a little bit more speed early but we got what we got,” said trainer Mary Eppler. “He just tries so hard. He’s all heart, just an amazing horse.”

Page McKenney, a Pennsylvania-bred Eavesdropper gelding, rallied from mid-pack to run down the speed of Shaft of Light. New Jersey-bred Sunny Ridge, foiled in his bid to become a millionaire, was another length-and-a-half back in third.

“It was tough at the eighth pole because the horses in front of us were not stopping much,” Karamanos said. “But my horse was coming. At the sixteenth pole I knew I had it.”

Page McKenney is about $30,000 shy of reaching $1.9 million in career earnings.

In the feature, Money Multiplier was sent off at 4-1 in the select field of five. Money Multiplier ran down a determined Projected in mid-stretch and then held off the late-charging Divisidero to win the $200,000 test by three quarters of a length in the mile and an eighth grass race. The handle total of $5,953,670 was the track’s highest since July 5, 2015 on United Nations Handicap day.

Trained by Chad Brown, who led all conditioners in money won on the grass a year ago, and ridden by Joe Bravo, who has a record 13 Monmouth Park riding titles to his credit, Money Multiplier was well positioned throughout, stalking the pace-setting favorite Frostmourne.

When Bravo swung his charge wide in the final turn past a tiring Frostmourne, he then had to reel in Projected before staving off the challenge of Divisidero, a Grade 1 winner.

Money Multiplier won the Monmouth Stakes last year as the race favorite.

“He’s a beast. He’s a horse who deserves all the praise he gets,” said Bravo. “Turning for home he just ran away with it. Chad Brown is the greatest. He let me ride the race. He said to me `you might be on the lead. Don’t be shocked. He’s fresh. Let him run his race.’

“I got a little concerned when Divisidero came outside of me late. He’s a nice horse. He just made my horse run and he responded the way a good horse does.”

Money Multiplier, a 6-year-old son of Lookin At Lucky-Intensify, notched his fifth career victory, pushing his earnings to more than $1.1 million.

He covered the nine furlongs in 1:46.79.

Dark Artist, a 3-year-old filly trained by Jane Cibelli and ridden by Trevor McCarthy captured the $75,000 Boiling Springs Stakes, holding off favored Reversethedecision by three quarters of a length. Dark Artist paid $15.60 to win in a field of 10 fillies going a mile and a sixteenth on the grass.

In the John J. Reilly Handicap Brother Chub ran down his full brother Chublicious to win the $60,000 six-furlong dash by 2½ lengths.

Trained by Michael Moore and ridden by Jose Ortiz, Brother Chub won his fourth straight race and his been first or second in all 12 starts since being claimed for $12,500 more than a year ago.

Chublicious was seeking his third straight win in the John Reilly, but the victory by his full brother means their sire – Hey Chub – both won the Reilly (in 2007) and sired two winners of the annual stakes.