John D. Gunther’s Last Gunfighter, who had his six-race winning streak stopped by Flat Out in the Suburban Handicap (gr. II), looks to start another when he takes on seven rivals in the 1 1/8-mile Philip H. Iselin Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Aug. 18.
The 4-year-old son of First Samurai –Saratoga Cat, by Sir Cat, will have his hands full with the presence of graded stakes winners Pants On Fire, Raging Daoust, and last year’s impressive Iselin winner San Pablo, who is coming off a 3 1/2-score in the Criminal Type Stakes at Belmont Park, defeating Hymn Book and Mucho Macho Man.
Pants On Fire and Raging Daoust are coming off stakes victories at Monmouth, with the former scoring in the Monmouth Cup (gr. II) and Raging Daoust upsetting the Salvator Mile (gr. III) at odds of 33-1.
Rounding out the field are Percussion, winner of the Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont and runner-up in the Brooklyn Handicap (gr. II), and Whatthecatdrugin, who was second in the West Virginia Governor’s Stakes at Mountaineer in his last start.
Last Gunfighter, trained by Chad Brown (as is Jaguar Paw), won his first six starts after being turned over to Brown last October, climbing the ladder from maiden company, an allowance/optional claimer, a pair of listed stakes, and finally to grade III victories in the Excelsior Stakes and Pimlico Special. Although he was second in the Suburban, he earned a career-high 103 Beyer figure.
Last Gunfighter will break from post 5 and will have the services of Joe Bravo for the first time.
San Pablo, owned by Burning Sands Stable, will attempt to win yet another stakes for Todd Pletcher, who is on an amazing run at Saratoga, and also won the William Hill Haskell Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Monmouth with Verrazano .
San Pablo was impressive winning last year’s Iselin by 3 1/2 lengths and has since won the Swatara Stakes at Penn National Race Course and Queens County at Aqueduct Racetrack. After defeats in his first two starts this year, he bounced back to form with his dominating victory in the Criminal Type, knocking off grade I horses.
The son of Jump Start will be getting five pounds from Last Gunfighter and Pants On Fire (123-118) and will be ridden by Chris DeCarlo.
Pletcher will also saddle Percussion, but named DeCarlo on the son of Bluegrass Cat as well.
Pants In Fire has been sort of an in-and-outer, but his best races have been good enough to earn him over $1.1 million. Another son of Jump Start, he won the Monmouth Cup by 1 3/4 lengths in a race that saw the favorite, Take Charge Indy , break down on the backstretch. Regular rider Paco Lopez will be back in the saddle.
$150,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (gr. III, Race 10, approximate post 5:33 p.m. EDT), 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles
1—Whatthecatdrugin (KY), E. Trujillo, 116, T. McCauley
2—Jaguar Paw (KY), A. Serpa, 118, C. Brown
3—San Pablo KY), C.P. DeCarlo, 118, T. Pletcher
4—Pants On Fire (KY), P. Lopez, 123, K. Breen
5—Last Gunfighter (KY), J. Bravo, 123, C. Brown
6—Margano (KY), L. Garcia, 118, A. Delacour
7—Ragin Daoust (KY), V. Santiago, 123, C. Carlesimo
8—Percussion (KY), C, DeCarlo, 118, T. Pletcher