The nation's leading trainer got more than he bargained for, as Icy Atlantic made a furious three-wide closing bid and overtook stretch leader Touched by Madness in the final strides to win in record time. It was the seventh lifetime victory for the Stormy Atlantic -Frosty Promise colt, who was bred in Florida by Arthur Appleton.
The time of 1:32.42 set the Monmouth Park turf course record.
A heavy favorite, Icy Atlantic paid $3.60 to win, while the exacta (3-7) with Touched by Madness, who was a neck back in second, paid $41.40. Baron Von Tap, who closed well along the rail, finished another head back in third.
“He’s trained great for both races that he’s run here this year," said Pletcher's assistant, Anthony Sciametta. "He was running on in his last (Oceanport Handicap, Aug. 5), but got in some traffic trouble at the top of the stretch. He’s run very well all year. I’m not sure where he’ll go next.”
Under Jockey Joe Bravo, Icy Atlantic saved ground for much of the race and was dead last through three-quarters, which was set by Touched by Madness in 1:09. But as they turned for home, Bravo deftly moved Icy Atlantic, who carried a race-high 121 pounds, off the rail and into striking position. He passed five rivals in the stretch to take home top prize.
“He could have won a six-furlong race with the times they put up there," said Bravo. "Todd Pletcher did a great job. He was the class of the race. I was just happy to be along for the ride.”
Shake the Bank, who was pressing the pace for much of the time, tired in early stretch to finish sixth in the seven-horse field.
Icy Atlantic had last won in April, when he earned a narrow victory in the Arcadia Handicap (gr. II) at Santa Anita. This was the second victory and third time in four starts that he placed at a distance of a mile.
The previous course record was held by Ide Rejoice (1:33.98), set Aug. 5, 2006.