The second running of the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes June 13, a 1 1/8-mile turf event that has the look of a graded event, figures to serve as a solid prep for the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT), the New Jersey track's top grass offering of the season on July 4.
Two-time grade I winner Champs Elysees, who just missed in last month's Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), will make his Keeneland debut on April 24 in the $200,000 Fifth Third Elkhorn (gr. IIT), the spring meeting's closing day feature.
In accord with American Graded Stakes Committee policy, the March 21 renewal of the Pan American Stakes (gr. IIIT), scheduled for the Gulfstream Park turf course, but switched to the main track, was automatically downgraded from a grade III to ungraded status and was conducted as an ungraded stakes race.
Buddy's Humor caught the pacesetter Presious Passion at the top of the stretch and prevailed following a long drive to the wire by three-quarters of a length in the $147,000 Pan American Stakes at rain-soaked Gulfstream Park. The race was taken off the turf course as a result of day-long showers and contested on a sealed main track.
Hot off his win in the Mac Diarmida (gr. IIT) one month ago, Presious Passion is back to defend his title in the $150,000 Pan American Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the Gulfstream Park grass course March 21.
Peachtree Stable's Twilight Meteor, making his second start since an extended layoff, cut the corner perfectly under John Velazquez and outdueled pacesetter Buddy's Humor to the wire to take the $150,000 Canadian Turf (gr. IIIT) by a length Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Trainer Bobby Frankel has the class edge with Southern California invaders Champs Elysees and Sudan, but local hope Presious Passion has the element of surprise in his favor in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park July 5.
Peter Vegso's resilient 8-year-old homebred Silver Tree returned to the winner's circle for the first time since last August, stalking the pace and then pulling away in the stretch to win the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. IIIT) by 1 1/2 lengths April 27 on the Aqueduct turf.
Although he failed to win his most recent start at Gulfstream Park, Peter Vegso's homebred Silver Tree turned in a solid effort in that April 5 race and has been assigned the high weight in the $100,000 Fort Marcy Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct April 27, closing day at the New York track.
Elizabeth Valando's Nobiz Like Shobiz figures to be the heavy favorite in the Sept. 1 Kent Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park. The $500,000 test for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on the grass has attracted a field of 11.
Centaur Farm's Distorted Reality did exactly what trainer Todd Pletcher hoped he would do Sunday afternoon, and the result was a half-length victory for the 2-5 choice over Buddy's Humor in the $106,000 Lexington on the firm inner turf course at Belmont Park.
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