Epic Bromance taking big swing in United Nations
Chad Brown has a pair entered in Saturday’s Grade 1, $600,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park, and Christophe Clement will be represented by the hard-hitting Gufo.
So with that kind of money, and those sorts of names, you know it’s a tough spot.
But trainer Kent Sweezey isn’t sweating. He likes how his charge Epic Bromance is coming into the 11-furlong turf fixture.
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“This has been our goal all year long since this horse was third last year and he’s trained great for it,” Sweezey said.
Epic Bromance was 61-1 in last year’s U.N. and ran his eyeballs out, settling in third early behind breakaway leader Tribhuvan and sticking with it all the way to the wire. He was beaten by Tribhuvan by three lengths, while just ahead of Serve the King, who finished fourth.
“This is a great race, and it’s very historic,” Sweezey said. “We’re lucky to be in the race.”
Epic Bromance has lost his six outings, four of them subsequent to last year’s U.N. But he enters this contest off a promising third-place finish in the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes over the strip, in which he once again went off at monster odds, this time 58-1.
Now six, Epic Bromance is a son of the late turf sire Kitten’s Joy. Sweezey trains him for Harriet Sawyer’s Epic Racing, which paid $100,000 for him as a two-year-old in training.
Epic Bromance has won three of 15 career starts, with earnings that are just shy of $200,000.
Will he be able to catch lightning in a bottle once again? Sweezey acknowledges the U.N. will be no easy task for his charge.
“There are a couple of really nice horses in there,” he said. “It came up tougher than what we thought it would. When we ran in the prep race and finished third, we thought that would maybe put us in the top five of the horses, but unfortunately for us, there is a bunch of really good ones in there.”
Both last year’s winner Tribhuvan, trained by Chad Brown, and the Christophe Clement-trained Gufo are Grade 1 winners. Brown will also send out Adhamo, an Irish-bred who was second last out to Tribhuvan in the Grade 1 Manhattan.
Tribhuvan led last year’s United Nations throughout, with Epic Bromance several lengths back in the early going. More recently, Epic Bromance led the Monmouth Stakes for the opening mile before tiring to third.
“Chad’s horse looks like he has a lot of speed. So do we,” Sweezey pointed out. “So we’re maybe going to play the break. Jose Ferrer has won more races than any other rider in the race so he knows the turf course pretty good. If he can outbreak Chad’s horse that’s really good. If he can’t, he can sit right behind him.”
Epic Bromance, 12-1 on the morning line, is one of four locally-based horses taking a swing in the U.N.
The others, all 20-1 on the morning line, are: Carpenters Call for trainer Gerald Bennett, the New Jersey-bred He’spuregold for trainer Kelly Breen, and Mohs for trainer Pat McBurney.
The United Nations is the 11th race on a 14-race slate with a projected post time of 5:09 p.m.