Etched holds off Musket Man to win the Monmouth Cup.

Etched holds off Musket Man to win the Monmouth Cup.

Deja Puglisi/EQUI-PHOTO

Etched Holds Off Musket Man in Monmouth Cup

Kentucky Derby runner-up Ice Box finishes fifth as the only 3-year-old.

A determined Etched held off the closing charge of odds-on favorite Musket Man to win the Monmouth Cup Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO) Oct. 9.

Ridden by Eddie Castro, Etched sat off fractions of :24.81and :49.96 set by Chirac. Moving on Chirac on the turn, Etched beat Musket Man by a neck and stopped the timer in 1:50.31 in the 1 1/8-mile race over a fast track.

“This horse seems like he’s getting better and better,” Castro said about the 5-year-old son of Forestry who races as a homebred for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley Stable. “He put in a nice kick when I asked him.  He fought back and didn’t want to let the horse (Musket Man) go by us.”

Musket Man, a lifetime millionaire who finished second in this year’s Metropolitan Handicap (gr. I) and the Carter Handicap (gr. I), finished five lengths in front of third-place finisher Chirac. Ice Box , the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) runner-up and the only 3-year-old in the race, finished fifth of six.

The victory was the second in as many starts this year for Etched, who is trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and whose dam, Unbridled Elaine (by Unbridled’s Song), won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) and the Monmouth Breeders’ Cup Oaks (gr. II). Etched took the Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth in September.

Etched returned $16.20, $4.80, and $4.20, topping a $41.40 exacta. Musket Man, last year's Kentucky Derby runner-up, paid $2.40 and $2.10, and Chirac returned $4.20.

Etched captured this race last year when it was known as the Meadowlands Cup (gr. II). The Monmouth Cup victory was the seventh of nine starts for Etched, who now has banked $587,586.