Ibboyee won the Spend A Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park, where handle remains strong.

Ibboyee won the Spend A Buck Stakes at Monmouth Park, where handle remains strong.

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Handle Still Strong at Monmouth; Ibboyee Wins

Pletcher, Velazquez team to win Spend a Buck Stakes for Anstu Stables.

Monmouth Park followed its record-breaking opening day with another strong showing May 23. A total of $7,046,389 was wagered on the 11-race program, an increase of 126% over the corresponding day last year.
There was a live crowd of about 8,500 at the New Jersey track. Fans saw Anstu Stables' Ibboyee capture the $100,000 Spend a Buck Stakes by a half-length.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Ibboyee (eye-be-boy-ee) stalked the early pace before wearing down the leader Rule By Night  inside the eighth pole and holding off his challengers to the wire. Ibboyee covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:43.00 and returned $6.60, $3.40, and $2.40 as the favorite in the field of eight 3-year-old colts.
“He broke really well and I knew there wasn’t much speed in the race,” said winning rider John Velazquez. “Down the backstretch he was going nice and easy. When he made the lead he was going along on his own and I knew he’d be tough. It all worked out today.”
Our Dark Knight rallied along the inside to complete the $36.80 exacta and paid $4.20 and $3.40.  Afleet Again was another head back in third, and returned $3.60 to show.
A son of Medallist  from the Pentelicus mare Expect Excellence, the New York-bred Ibboyee sports a record of 5-2-1 from 10 starts and now boasts earnings of $488,298.

Monmouth is running an abbreviated 50-day meet offering a record $50 million in purses this summer through Labor Day. The season got off to a fast start as 17,903 turned out for the opener, a 74% increase over 2009.

The total handle for opening day was $9,357,444, more than doubling the $4,279,438 wagered on last year’s curtain-raiser.

The track will race Saturday through Monday for Memorial Day Weekend (May 29-31), then will hold live racing on Friday through Sundays for the balance of the meet.