With three weeks left until the Haskell Invitational (gr. I), seven sophomores will attempt to burnish their credentials for the $1 million event at Monmouth Park with a victory in the Long Branch Stakes July 8.
The 1 1/16-mile Long Branch, worth $100,000, is the 11th race on Monmouth's Sunday program with a 5:48 p.m. EDT post time. The Haskell, the early summer fixture contested at nine furlongs, is July 29.
The Long Branch attracted one graded stakes winner, Illinois Derby (gr. III) victor Done Talking.
Skeedattle Stable's Maryland-based son of Broken Vow has done nothing in two starts since that 12-1 upset victory April 7 at Hawthorne, however.
Trained by veteran conditioner Hamilton Smith, Done Talking finished 14th in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), then came up empty when running seventh in the James W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness Stakes undercard May 19 at Pimlico Race Course. Sheldon Russell is back aboard the bay colt, who breaks from post 5.
My Adonis, trained by Kelly Breen for owners George and Lori Hall, is the best known runner in the Long Branch field. A stakes winner at 2, the Pleasantly Perfect colt has not won in five starts in 2012.
In his most recent race, the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) June 9, he tired to finish eighth of 11, some 18 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Union Rags . The bay started the year with a third-place finish in the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, then ran second to Hansen in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct Racetrack. A seventh-place finish in the Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial (gr. I), however, wiped out any hope of qualifying for the Kentucky Derby field.
My Adonis, breaking from post 2 while reunited with jockey Elvis Trujillo, broke his maiden at Monmouth in his fourth start after three successive runner-up finishes over the track.
George J. Kerr's Good Morning Diva had no excuse when finishing a weakening third as the 11-10 favorite in the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth June 17. Winner of the Calder Derby in April and fourth in the Peter Pan (gr. II) prior to the Pegasus, the son of Lion Heart looks to improve for trainer Timothy Hills.
Macho Macho returns quickly following a distant third-place finish when well bet in the 1 1/16-mile Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs June 16. That was the stakes debut for the son of Macho Uno owned by Jerry Durant and trained by Steve Asmussen.
Luis Arenas' Window Boy has not been out since making his stakes bow with a win in the Grover "Buddy" Delp Memorial Stakes May 23 at Delaware Park in front-running fashion by 1 3/4 lengths. He has won two in a row for trainer John Servis.
Forward March tries stakes company for the first time following a front-running win in an allowance optional claiming event on a sloppy track at Belmont Park June 13. The son of Distorted Humor , trained by Shug McGaughey for Flag Lake Stable II, has two wins and two thirds from five lifetime starts.
$100,000 Long Branch Stakes (Race 11, 5:48 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Window Boy (KY), J Bisono, 123, J C Servis
2. My Adonis (KY), E Trujillo, 123, K J Breen
3. Phil Dancer (PA), J L Flores, 123, R E Reid Jr.
4. Forward March (KY), E Castro, 119, C R McGaughey III
5. Done Talking (KY), S Russell, 123, H A Smith
6. Good Morning Diva (KY), P Lopez, 123, T A Hills
7. Macho Macho (KY), C S Nakatani, 119, S M Asmussen