Crossed Sabres Farm's Lochte hopes to get back on the winning track, as the 5-year-old gelded son of Medaglia d'Oro tops the field for the $150,000 Oceanport Stakes (gr. III) Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park.
At 1 1/16 miles on turf, the Oceanport immediately precedes the William Hill Haskell Invitational (gr. I) that features Triple Crown winner American Pharoah . The Oceanport drew a field of eight, although Mr. Viber was entered for the main track only, should the race be moved off the grass because of any inclement weather.
Trained by Marcus Vitali, Lochte is the only grade I winner in the Oceanport field, having won the Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. IT) in February of 2014. He has subsequently posted three wins from 17 starts, including the Tampa Bay Stakes (gr. III) earlier this year. In his most recent effort, Lochte rallied gamely from far back to finish second, a neck behind winner Kharafa, in the Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth.
Kharafa, a gelded son of Kitaplha who won the Elkwood as the 6-5 favorite after checking twice, is the most accomplished entrant, with a 10-8-4 record in 28 starts and earnings of $756,137. Previous to the Elkwood, the 6-year-old New York-bred was second in the Kingston Stakes at Belmont Park, and had back-to-back victories in the Mohawk Stakes at Belmont and in an optional claiming/allowance event. He is trained by Timothy Hills for Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch.
Terry Hamilton's Heart to Heart, a 4-year-old English Channel colt who was champion 3-year-old colt in Canada last year, pressed the pace before backing up to finish seventh in the Poker Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont June 13. Trained by Brian A. Lynch, Heart to Heart also finished second in the Red Bank Stakes (gr. IIIT). During a three-race win skein last year, Heart to Heart won the Jefferson Cup and Commonwealth Turf, both grade III grass races at Churchill Downs.
The only other stakes winner in the field is Old Time Hockey, winner of the 2012 La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIT) at Del Mar and the winner of the past two editions of the Tampa Turf Classic. The gelded son of Smarty Jones is a Glen Hill Farm homebred trained by Tom Proctor. Monmouth Park, Sunday, August 02, 2015, Race 11
PP Horse Jockey Wgt Trainer M/L 1 1Film Making (KY) Edgar S. Prado 116 Ernest P. Retamoza, Jr - 2 2Cage Fighter (FL) Trevor McCarthy 116 James L. Lawrence, II - 3 3Old Time Hockey (FL) Daniel Centeno 118 Thomas F. Proctor - 4 4Hothersal (ON) Gabriel Saez 116 Jason Servis - 5 5Heart to Heart (ON) Victor Espinoza 120 Brian A. Lynch - 6 6Lochte (KY) Orlando Bocachica 123 Marcus J. Vitali - 7 7Kharafa (NY) Paco Lopez 118 Timothy A. Hills - 8 8Mr. Viber (KY) Abel Castellano, Jr. 116 Todd A. Pletcher -
Monmouth Park, Sunday, August 02, 2015, Race 11