Anne M. Eberhardt

Protonico Heads Monmouth Cup Stakes Cast

Speedy multiple graded-stakes winner holds the most impressive credentials.

Multiple graded-stakes winner Protonico  leads the cast of older horses going 1 1/16 miles in the $200,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II) Aug. 2.

Highweighted at 123 pounds, Protonico is coming off victories in the Alysheba Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland, after being eased in the Donn Handicap (gr. I), his first start this season. He has won graded stakes at four different racetracks and has won from on the lead, stalking, and coming from well back.

Bradester  is likely to flash speed from the rail. He has hit the board in all three of his Monmouth starts, including a win in the Salvator Mile Stakes (gr. III) last out in near gate-to-wire fashion. He was second in this event a year ago. Defending Monmouth Cup winner Valid, who finished third off a layoff in the Salvator Mile, should also be prominent on the front end and has hit the board in all five of his starts at Monmouth Park.

A couple of other horses that have shown an affinity for Monmouth include Irish You Well and Freestyler. Irish You Well has taken three of four starts at the New Jersey oval and won the Long Branch Stakes there a year ago. He comes off an allowance/optional claiming victory in the slop at Monmouth last out. Freestyler is riding a four-race win streak, but in far lesser company than what he faces here.

Veteran Pants On Fire is still dangerous, having taken the Sir Shackleton Stakes three back, and was a good third in the Churchill Downs Stakes (gr. II), before faltering to seventh in the Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I).

Grasshoppin and Just Call Kenny haven't proven they can stay with this kind. The former will have to battle more accomplished frontrunners early, while the latter hasn't won for more than a year.

Earlier on the card, Catron figures to go favored in the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes sprinting six furlongs. Wildcat Red , Uptown Boy, and Loverbil loom as his main competition.

Entries: Monmouth Cup S. (G2)

Monmouth Park, Sunday, August 02, 2015, Race 10

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 4:25 PM (local)
11Bradester (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateCorey J. Lanerie118Eddie Kenneally-
22Just Call Kenny (VA)Daniel Centeno116Patrick B. McBurney-
33Irish You Well (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux116Wayne M. Catalano-
44Grasshoppin (PA)Pablo Fragoso116Mario Serey, Jr.-
55Freestyler (KY)Trevor McCarthy116Bruce F. Alexander-
66Pants On Fire (KY)Paco Lopez118Kelly J. Breen-
77Protonico (KY)Mike E. Smith123Todd A. Pletcher-
88Valid (VA)Keeneland Sales GraduateOrlando Bocachica118Marcus J. Vitali-