MATCH: Remembering Rita looks to keep defying odds in Monmouth Cup
Page McKenney takes the Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
From a Monmouth Park release
Trainer Doug Anderson said he was simply looking for a young horse with some potential when he claimed Remembering Rita for owner Jeral Keith Adams for $50,000 in November of 2016 at Churchill Downs.
One graded stakes win and $254,946 in earnings later, he has one of those horses that allows everyone in the sport to dream big.
A winner of the Grade 3 Cornhusker Handicap at Prairie Meadows in his last start on July 6, Remembering Rita will take on five rivals in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup, one of four graded stakes races on Sunday’s 14-race betfair.com Haskell Invitational card at Monmouth Park.
It’s the latest major test for a horse that keeps defying the odds.
“You always hope, but you never really expect anything like this,” said Anderson. “After Gary Stevens rode him at Keeneland (on April 21) he came back and said `he’s not paying attention at all. This horse needs blinkers to stick to his business.’
“So we put blinkers on him and that’s when it happened.”
Fitted with blinkers for the first time Remembering Rita broken his maiden by 11¼ lengths. He followed that with an 11-length romp in an optional claimer and then won the Cornhusker Handicap at a mile and an eighth – the distance of the Monmouth Cup – by 1½ lengths.
The 4-year-old son of Spring At Last-Deep South will take on the likes of the hard-hitting gelding Page McKenney, a winner of 22 lifetime starts, in the $150,000 Monmouth Cup, which is for 3-year-olds-and-up.
“It looks like a pretty competitive field,” said Anderson, who has not been to Monmouth Park since serving as an assistant to Scooter Dickey in 1980s. “Hopefully my horse will continue to step up the way he has lately.”
Remembering Rita was only able to race once in 2017 after being claimed by Anderson “because of a bone chip that was worse than we thought.” He said owner Adams was getting antsy about seeing his colt race under his colors again “but he understood the situation,” Anderson said.
“I think he is happy with the way things turned out,” he added.
The Monmouth Cup is also part of the Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred Championships (MATCH) Series. Page McKenney leads the three-year-old and up long on the dirt division with 17 points after finishing first and second in the first two legs of the series. and, as the only runner on the board entered in this event, has a chance to take command of the division with a win here.