Gotcha Gold upsets Lawyer Ron in Salvator

OCEANPORT – Centaur Farms’ Gotcha Gold took command at the start and never looked back as he gamely hung on for a neck victory over 1-10 favorite Lawyer Ron in the $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Gotcha Gold, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. and ridden by Chuck C. Lopez, clipped off fractions of :22 4/5, :45 2/5 and 1:09 1/5 over the fast main track, stopping the timer in a stakes record 1:34 1/5 for one mile.

The winner, who just failed to last when he employed similar front-running tactics in the Frisk Me Now Stakes on May 28, was sent off the 10-1 fourth choice in the field of five, and paid $22.20, $3.20 and $2.10 across the board. Lawyer Ron, a multiple-graded stakes winner, was sent off the overwhelming choice at 10 cents on the dollar, but had to settle for second when his rally fell short. He completed the $30.60 exacta and paid the minimum $2.10 and $2.10 across, and was responsible for a minus show pool of $97,634. The favorite attracted a total of $464,509 in show wagers, from the total pool of $484,077.

Indy Wind, who ran down Gotcha Gold in the Frisk Me Now, closed for third, 8 1/2 lengths behind the first two, returning $2.10 to show.

Gotcha Gold’s winning time of 1:34 1/5 shaded the previous Salvator Mile record of 1:34 2/5 set by Peanut Butter Onit in winning the 1991 running of the race.

“Last time he got away from Chuckie [jockey Chuck Lopez] a little bit early,” Plesa said, “but today he was able to settle down a little bit more. After a quarter, he was six to seven lengths slower than his last out, and the same at the half-mile pole. He did what he needed to do – he took over right after the break.

“I wasn’t worried about Lawyer Ron catching him. I could see how well he was running in the stretch. But I was happy to see the wire come up when it did.”

Lopez, who won the Coronado’s Quest Stakes here last year aboard Gotcha Gold, said he was just a good passenger.

“I didn’t have to do anything but hang on,” Lopez said. “As opposed to the last time, when he drew an outside post and I had to hustle to get him to the lead, today he broke from the inside and was able to get out there pretty easily.

“In the stretch, I just kept on riding him. I didn’t see Lawyer Ron coming, and I wasn’t looking. I was just riding my horse all the way to the wire.”

“Things just didn’t work our way today,” said John Velazquez, rider of runner-up Lawyer Ron. “That horse got loose on the front-end and we couldn’t get to him in the lane. We tried to make a big run in the lane, but we didn’t have enough ground.”

Gotcha Gold earned $90,000 for the Salvator victory, bringing his career total to $307,420. The 4-year-old son of Coronado’s Quest now has a 4-2-0 record in eight starts at Monmouth, and has won six of 21 lifetime starts.

In the $60,000 Sneakbox Stakes at five and a half furlongs on the turf, Waterford Farm’s In Summation rallied to score by nearly two lengths as the 9-5 favorite, giving jockey Chris DeCarlo his seventh stakes victory of the meeting. The victory also kept trainer Christopher Clement’s Monmouth record perfect. He now has won with all four of his starters at the meeting.

Joey P., the second choice in the field of eight, who was trying turf for the first time in his career, lunged out of the gate and almost fell at the break, and was never in the race after the disastrous start.

In Summation raced the distance over a firm course in 1:01 4/5 and returned $5.60, $3.40 and $2.80 across the board. Mr. Silver held on to the second spot to complete the $36.40 exacta. Vicarage was third.

In Summation, a 4-year-old colt by Put It Back, was winning for the first time in two years. However, he had been finishing second and third in graded stakes late last year and early this season coming into the Sneakbox. Last year, he was beaten by a neck in the Restoration Stakes over this course.

“He [trainer Clement] told me to just sit off the pace and let him relax,” DeCarlo said. “I tried to save as much ground as I could, but he was still out there a little bit. Turning for home, I asked him and he kicked in very nicely.”

In the $60,000 Without Feathers Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Kenwood Racing’s Exchanging Fire took the track at the start and never looked back, drawing off to win by nearly six lengths in a major upset.

Exchanging Fire, trained by Stephen Mick and ridden by Eddie King, stopped the timer in 1:35 flat for one mile on the fast main track and returned $61.80, $16.80 and $21 across the board. Coy Coyote finished second to complete the $290.20 exacta, and Ethan’s Car was third.

Perfect Forest, the 3-5 favorite, never menaced at any point and finished fourth, leading to show prices that were higher than the place prices. Coy Coyote returned $7.40 and $7.80, and Ethan’s Car paid $10.80 to show.

“I just let my filly hop out of there and got her to relax,” King said. “She was up to the lead and going easy, and I was really surprised that no one was going with us. Turning for home, I just chirped to her and she took off for the wire. The track is playing very fair today, and she ran a great race in here.”

Coronado’s Quest to the unbeaten Cable Boy

J.M. Dinan and Phantom House Farm’s Cable Boy made every pole a winning one and kept his record intact by taking the $60,000 Coronado’s Quest Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday by three lengths.

After setting swift early fractions of :22 3/5 for the quarter and :45 2/5 for the half, Cable Boy posted a 1:09 2/5 three-quarter time before coming home in 1:39 2/5 for the mile and 70 yards. The track record of 1:38 3/5 for the distance was set in Cable Boy’s last start on May 26.

“The fractions were a little faster than I would have liked,” said winning trainer Patrick McBurney. “But when he asked him down the lane, he took off. When you see 22 and change going a distance, you always get a little nervous, but after the half-mile pole I didn’t even look at the fractions, I was just watching the horse through the binoculars and he was going very well.”

Saratoga Lulaby completed the $10.40 exacta and paid $3 and $2.20. It was another nine lengths back to Pink Viper, who returned $2.40 to show in the field of five 3-year-old colts and geldings.

“The instructions were to get to the front,” said winning rider Jose Velez Jr. “Once we got to the lead, there was no looking back. Everything worked out great today.”

Cable Boy bested his record to three-for-three in the Coronado’s Quest and boosted his earnings to $79,800.

“From here we’ll go to Long Branch [July 14], and since this is our hometown track, we would love to go to the Haskell [Aug. 5],” McBurney said.