Big Brown is such a star that Monmouth Park has carded a race just for him, the Monmouth Stakes at 11/8 miles on turf. I suppose the idea was to get an easy prep in for the BCClassic, but this has turned out to be anything but for the presumptive 3yo champ. The half-million dollar purse has attracted a full field of Graded stakes winners, older turf specialists itching for the chance to take down the Derby winner.
SHakis, trained by Keiran Mclaughlin for Darley, just won the Baruch at Saratoga. 11/8 miles is his bitch.
Proudinsky was 6th by only 2lengths in a blanket finish to Shakis in the Baruch, and Frankel has him tuned up for a victory this time. He may get it, too, because along with the older horses and the grass, Big Brown may also have to overcome turf less-than-firm. Weather predictions are calling for rain saturday, which could even pull the race off the grass and onto the main track.
Silver Tree has a win over the Monmouth turf course already, and was game in his last narrow win in the Oceanport.
How sweet would the stretch call be if Fugeddaboudit Sal won?
Despite his record thus far, Big Brown does not have me wholly convinced of his greatness. He has been beating a questionable crop all year. His peers, whom he so thoroughly wolloped, have been barely beating each other (sloowly) . What will happen when he gets in with the senior class?
I like Proudinsky and Silver Tree, or Shakis on top if the course is dry. Drum Major may be a dangerous upset play, after a year layoff and a 7th place finish in the Baruch. Get Serious, BAllonenostrikes and Kiss the Kid are local Monmouth horses looking for some big-time cred.
If Brown can pull off a win here, it will go a loooong way in convincing me — like Curlin last year. I was not on the Golden Warrior’s bandwagon until he beat my buddy LAwyer Ron in the JCGC.
At least Brown is attracting positive attention to the sport. Memphis is the dead zone of racing coverage, and even people here are talking about him. They may even flip over from the Southern Heritage CLassic to catch the race on TVG (3:30pm Central). Who am I kidding? Memphians skipping a football game? LOL…