The June 30 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park has attracted a diverse group of fillies and mares, with graded stakes winners Ruthenia, Heavenly Landing, and Unbridled Humor being the biggest standouts.
First run in 1971, the 1 1/16-mile Eatontown is named for Eatontown, N.J., a borough near the Eastern seaboard racetrack. The 11th race on the card, it is slated to run at 5:48 p.m. ET.
Ruthenia, a Virginia Kraft Payson homebred, has the advantage of entering the contest off a one-length victory in Monmouth's May 28 Violet Stakes (gr. IIIT) over Unbridled Humor and other Eatontown contender Pinch Pie.
Trained by Christophe Clement, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit is two-for-two this year, as she also won an allowance optional claiming contest at the Eatontown distance at Gulfstream Park in April.
Four-year-old Ruthenia has won or placed in five other stakes during her three-year campaign. Out of the Rahy mare Ruthian, she holds an overall record of 4-3-1 from 10 starts, for earnings of $224,635.
Jockey Kendrick Carmouche, who was aboard for the Violet, has the return assignment on Ruthenia. The co-highweight at 123 pounds, the bay filly will break from post 8.
Lally Stable's Heavenly Landing, who will also carry 123 pounds, scored her first graded stakes victory in come-from-behind fashion in the Jan. 7 Marshua's River Stakes (gr. IIIT). The 5-year-old daughter of Pulpit has failed to win in four starts since, however, with her best effort being a close second behind Bizzy Caroline last out in the June 2 Early Times Mint Julep Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, Heavenly Landing enters the Eatontown with an overall record of 4-2-2 from 17 starts and earnings of $228,375. Bred in Kentucky by Gainesway Thoroughbreds, she was a $340,000 Keeneland September yearling sale purchase in 2008. She will be ridden for the first time by jockey Paco Lopez and the pair will break from post 2.
Unbridled Humor, trained by Graham Motion for owner/breeder Live Oak Stud, is looking for her first 2012 victory. The last time the 6-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Distorted Humor visited the winner's circle was seven starts ago in the 2011 Noble Damsel Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Belmont Park.
Although winless this year, Unbridled Humor has placed in three stakes in 2012: the Hillsborough (gr. IIIT) and First Dude Turf Distaff at Tampa Bay Downs, and the aforementioned Violet. Her career slate stands at 5-2-2 from 12 starts, with earnings of $260,020.
Unbridled Humor will stick with regular jockey Joe Rocco Jr. and the pair will break from post seven.
Rounding out the field are stakes winners Pinch Pie and Marquet Madness (in England); stakes-placed runners Dinner's Out (in France) and Little Often Anni; and winners Vivo Per Lei, Twice the Lady, and Silver Screamer. The latter two making their stakes debuts in the Eatontown.
$100,000 Eatontown (gr. IIIT, Race 11, 5:48 p.m.), fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Marquet Madness (FL), P Fragoso, 116, M Hartmann
2. Heavenly Landing (KY), P Lopez, 123, E Kenneally
3. Twice the Lady (KY) (MTO), E Trujillo, 116, A W Dutrow
4. Dinner's Out (GB), C H Marquez, Jr., 116, A E Goldberg
5. Vivo Per Lei (KY), A Serpa, 118, W I Mott
6. Little Often Anni (PA), P L Cotto, Jr., 116, L J Cocelli, Jr.
7. Unbridled Humor (FL), J Rocco, Jr., 116, H G Motion
8. Ruthenia (KY), K Carmouche, 123, C Clement
9. Silver Screamer (KY), J L Espinoza, 118, R R Rodriguez
10. Pinch Pie (KY), E Trujillo, 116, A W Dutrow