The Jockey Club Tour on FOX makes its first visit to Monmouth with live coverage of the race on FOX Sports 1 and FOX Sports GO (Digital) from 5 to 6:30 p.m. EDT.
As a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win And You're In" event, the winner of the United Nations will be guaranteed an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park as part of the two-day World Championships. Among the champions who have won the United Nations are English Channel , Manila, and Sky Classic.
In a race that includes recent Belmont Gold Cup Invitational winner Charming Kitten and world record-setter Twilight Eclipse, 123-pound highweight Lochte will look to recover from a dismal 13th when the 2-1 favorite of 14 in the June 8 Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIT). He raced wide in that 1 1/8-mile event on the Monmouth lawn, then never fired. As a result, he is 10-1 on the morning line for the United Nations.
Winner of the Feb. 9 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (gr. IT) at odds of 39-1 for Crossed Sabres Farm, the 4-year-old Medaglia d'Oro gelding has not won since. He was a good second in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile Stakes (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park and then ran third behind two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan and United Nations rival Kaigun in the April 11 Maker's 46 Mile Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland before trainer Marcus Vitali gave him a two-month rest before the Monmouth.
Regular rider Orlando Bocachica gets the mount on Lochte from post 9 in the United Nations.
Jockey Joe Bravo gets a chance for his third consecutive United Nations victory at his home track aboard Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Charming Kitten, who breaks from post 1 under 118 pounds as the 9-2 third choice. Bravo won the 2013 edition with Big Blue Kitten for the Ramseys, and in 2012 on Turbo Compressor .
Charming Kitten, a 4-year-old son of Kitten's Joy , took the June 6 Belmont Gold Cup going two miles by a closing length over Irish Mission at Belmont Park last out for trainer Todd Pletcher. He is still seeking his initial graded stakes score, however, with runner-up finishes in the Hawthorne Derby (gr. IIIT), Virginia Derby (gr. IIT) and Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT). Last year he won the 1 1/16-mile Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream.
Pletcher will also saddle 2013 Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) victor Winning Cause (15-1), who departs the 8 hole under Chris DeCarlo and an impost of 118. Seeking his first victory since the summer of 2013, the 4-year-old Giant's Causeway colt has turned in two good efforts at Monmouth, with a third in the Monmouth Stakes and a runner-up finish by three-quarters of a length to Hard Enough in the one-mile Red Bank (gr. IIIT) back in May.
Kaigun, a two-time allowance winner for trainer Mark Casse, could be live in this spot while pegged at 5-1. The 4-year-old Northern Afleet runner, bred in Ontario, was second last out in the June 7 Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT), just 1 1/4 lengths behind Arlington Million (gr. IT) winner Real Solution . He put in a good try against Wise Dan as well back in the spring, finishing just three-quarter lengths back in the Maker's 46 Mile Stakes (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
Alan Garcia rides Kaigun from post 7 as part of a 118-pound assignment.
Twilight Eclipse, the world record-holder for 1 1/2 miles on the turf (2:22.63), could also factor here as the 5-2 mornig line choice. Fourth in the Belmont Gold Cup in his most recent start for trainer Tom Albertrani, the 5-year-old Purim gelding still seeks a grade I win to add to his three grade II triumphs and a grade III score. He placed last year in both the Man o' War (gr. IT) and the Sword Dancer (gr. IT), missing the latter to Big Blue Kitten by just a length.
This year, Twilight Eclipse made an unsuccessful trip to Dubai, running 12th in the Sheema Classic (UAE-I) March 29. Prior to that outing, he won his second straight edition of the Mac Diarmida (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream. Jose Lezcano rides from the 3 hole as part of a 120-pound assignment.
One of interest is group I winner Side Glance, who returns to the U.S. for the first time since running third in the 2013 Arlington Million. Trainer Andrew Balding sends Kingsclere Racing Club's 7-year-old Passing Glance (GB) gelding off a seventh in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) on June 17 at Royal Ascot, with regular rider Jamie Spencer in to pilot from the far outside.
Side Glance, who finished fourth in the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) this year, was the first Northern Hemisphere-trained horse to win Australia's Longines MacKinnon Stakes (AUS-I). He did so in 2013. In addition to starts in the U.S., Australia, Dubai, and his home base of England, he has raced in Singapore and Hong Kong to collect eight wins from 35 outs with $2.4 million in earnings.
Completing the field are Flaxman Holdings' homebred group III winner Main Sequence, making his U.S. debut for trainer Graham Motion, and recent allowance winners Ghurair, Manchurian High, and Exclusive Strike.
$500,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT, Race 12, approximate post time 6:13 p.m. EDT), 3YOs & Up, 1 3/8 miles (turf)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Charming Kitten (KY), J. Bravo, 118, T A Pletcher, 9/2
2. Ghurair (KY), G. L. Stevens, 118, C C Brown, 3/1
3. Twilight Eclipse (KY), J. Lezcano, 120, T Albertrani, 5/2
4. Manchurian High (FL), F. Boyce, 118, L Kurtinecz, 30/1
5. Main Sequence (KY), R. Maragh, 118, H G Motion, 8/1
6. Exclusive Strike (KY), P. Lopez, 118, J Servis, 15/1
7. Kaigun (ON), A. Garcia, 118, M E Casse, 5/1
8. Winning Cause (KY), C. P. DeCarlo, 118, T A Pletcher, 15/1
9. Lochte (KY), O. Bocachica, 123, M J Vitali, 10/1
10. Side Glance (GB), J. P. Spencer, 118, A Balding, 15/1