The Green Monkey Finishes Third in First Start

The Green Monkey Finishes Third in First Start
Photo: Skip Dickstein
The much-awaited racing debut of The Green Monkey ends in 3rd place finish.

by Karen M. Johnson

It was an inauspicious racing debut for The Green Monkey, who brought a world record $16-million at auction last year. The Green Monkey finished third, beaten seven lengths by the winner, Roi Maudit, in the fourth race at Belmont Park Sept. 15.

Six horses ran in the maiden race, which was contested at six furlongs on the dirt.

The Green Monkey, the 2-5 favorite, was ridden by John Velazquez.

Velazquez rode the colt vigorously from the starting gate. While The Green Monkey was willing, he was unable to keep up with the early pacesetters and raced in third down the backstretch, a few lengths behind the leaders. He made up minimal ground in the stretch.

Todd Pletcher, The Green Monkey’s trainer, watched the race with the 3-year-old’s co-owner, Michael Tabor. As Pletcher left the box area following the race, he said, “I didn’t think he ran that badly. He got a good position even though it took him a few strides to get there. No real excuse. Obviously, he is a first-time starter and these horses have run before. He didn’t do anything wrong; he just couldn’t quite get there.”

Had he known beforehand the race would be run so quickly, Pletcher said the outcome would not have been surprising.  “I could have told you, he probably wouldn’t have been ready for that,” he said.

The final time was 1:09 over a fast track. The early fractions were :22 seconds for the opening quarter, :44 4/5 for the half-mile, and :56 3/5 for five furlongs run.

Velazquez said he wasn’t surprised by the outcome because he didn’t figure The Green Monkey, a son of Forestry, to be a sprinter.

“He is not that fast from the gate,” Velazquez said.

A large crowd gathered inside and outside the paddock to view The Green Monkey, who behaved perfectly in the walking ring and post parade. The race was delayed several minutes while a few of the runners were reluctant to load. The Green Monkey only momentarily balked at going into the gate.

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