Two-time grade II winner Strike a Deal will carry top weight of 123 pounds when leading a field of eight in the $200,000 Oceanport Stakes (gr. IIIT) Aug. 1 at Monmouth Park.
The 1 1/16-mile Oceanport and the $200,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares, are the top two undercard stakes leading up to the $1 million IZOD Haskell Invitational (gr. I), which highlights Monmouth’s sensational 14-race program.
Richard Santulli’s Strike a Deal has earned more than $1 million in his 22-start career, including the Red Smith Handicap (gr. IIT) at Aqueduct in 2008 and the Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) at Pimlico in his season debut on May 15. The 6-year-old son of Smart Strike—Shag, by Dixieland Band, finished off the board in his last two starts—both grade I races in New York.
Runner-up in the 2008 United Nations (gr. IT), Strike a Deal is 1-1-0 from four starts on the Monmouth turf. C. C. Lopez will ride for trainer Alan Goldberg. He was bred in Kentucky by Bee Zee.
Among the other top contenders are a pair of locally-based geldings—John Forbes trainee Get Serious, winner of the Monmouth Stakes (gr. IIIT) last month before finishing fifth in the United Nations, and Roman Tiger, who was runner-up in the Monmouth Stakes for owner/trainer Dennis Manning.
Multiple graded stakes winner Whatsthescript will try to break an eight-race losing streak. Post time for the Oceanport is set for 5:04 p.m. EDT. Whatsthescript is also entered in the Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) at Saratoga Aug. 1.
Earlier on the card is the 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker Stakes, which drew a field of 11. Likely to take much of the betting action is 5-year-old Tizaqueena, a five-time stakes winner including three this season.
Trained by Michael Stidham for Darley, Tizaqueena recorded her last win in the Arlington Matron (gr. III) on May 29 the Polytrack. The versatile mare, who will carry top weight of 123 pounds, has also won stakes on dirt and turf in 2010. Rajiv Maragh will have the mount.
$200,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker (gr. IIT, Race 9, 3:59 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Talkin About Love (NJ), C H Marquez Jr., 116, K G Sleeter
2. Eye of Taurus (KY), E Castro, 116, K P McLaughlin
3. Yippety Yip (KY), M Garcia, 116, J Servis
4. Obsequious (KY), P Fragoso, 116, E Gray
5. Unbridled Essence (FL), P Lopez, 118, G D Sacco
6. Tizaqueena (KY), R Maragh, 123, M Stidham
7. Cherokee Queen (KY), E Trujillo, 118, M D Wolfson
8. Mystic Miracle (KY), J Bravo, 118, M A Hennig
9. Quiet Meadow (FL), A Garcia, 116, C C Brown
10. Tottie (GB), J Lezcano, 116, C C Brown
11. Giant Mover (VA), R A Dominguez, 116, T A Pletcher
$200,000 Oceanport (gr. IIT, Race 11, 5:04 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Nownownow (KY), P Lopez, 116, P L Biancone
2. Violon Sacre (KY), J Lezcano, 118, P L Biancone
3. Whatsthescript (IRE), E Trujillo, 116, G C Contessa
4. Strike a Deal (KY), C C Lopez, 123, A E Goldberg
5. Cherokee Artist (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, H G Motion
6. Get Serious (NY), P Fragoso, 120, J H Forbes
7. Roman Tiger (FL), J Bravo, 120, D J Manning
8. Tybalt (KY), R Maragh, 116, M Stidham