Circle Z Stables' Xchanger, bumped solidly mid-stretch by Actin Good, recovered to edge away from his rival close to home to win the $150,000 Sapling (gr. III) for 2-year-olds by three-quarters of a length at Monmouth Park on Monday.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, his fourth winner on the Labor Day card, Xchanger returned $11.60, $6 and $4.40 after racing the six furlongs in 1:10 3/5. Actin Good, whose rider Jose Velez Jr. claimed foul for interference in the stretch, held second by a head and paid $7.80 and $4. Buffalo Man, Eddie Castro aboard, paid $3.80 to show. The exacta combined for $83.80.The claim was disallowed."We've been very high on this horse, even before we bought him," said winning trainer Mark Shuman. "We wanted to come here for his next race based on the way he ran his last, the way he came out of it, and the way Joe (jockey Bravo) showed enthusiasm after his maiden win.
"There's two races at Belmont, one of them being the Futurity (gr. II on Sept. 23). We'll let him tell us when he's ready. We don't want to push him but, if he goes to Belmont and does well, we might take a chance at the Breeders' Cup at Churchill (Nov. 4)."
The Sapling win marked the second victory in as many tries for Xchanger, a colt by Exchange Rate from the Crafty Prospector mare Saragoza. The winner's share of $90,000 boosted his lifetime earnings to $111,600.
Air Lord finished a close fourth, followed by Datrick, King Barney, and First Cavalry.
In the $140,000 Icecapade Stakes, Who's the Cowboy swung widest for the drive and wore down Weigelia in the final 70 yards to post a one-length victory after stepping the six furlongs in a swift 1:09 flat.
Trained by Kevin Sleeter, Who's the Cowboy returned $7.60, $3.60, and $3 and topped a $38.40 exacta with Eddie King aboard. Weigelia, the favorite in the field of seven, held second and paid $4.20 and $3.20. Gold and Roses was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third, good for a $4 show.
Owned by Gerald Sleeter, Who's the Cowboy is by Intensity from the Better Arbitor mare Image's Image. He was bred in New Jersey by Gerald's wife Carolyn and has now earned $514,273 for his connections, who indicated he'll run next on Jersey-bred Day Sept. 16. The long term goal is the DeFrancis Dash (gr. I) at Laurel Nov. 26.(Chart, Equibase)