Better Talk Now and Ramon Dominguez (middle) teamed to win the grade II Dixie at Pimlico May 20.

Better Talk Now and Ramon Dominguez (middle) teamed to win the grade II Dixie at Pimlico May 20.

Jeffrey Snyder

Motion Seeks Repeat of 2005 United Nations

While New Jersey legislators and the governor close in on an agreement for the state budget that would allow racing at Monmouth Park this weekend, a field of seven was entered for the $750,000 United Nations (gr. IT) Saturday over 11 furlongs on the grass.

Trainer H. Graham Motion would like nothing better than to see a repeat of last year's U.N. He's back with the same pair of runners he entered in 2005, "the rabbit," Shake the Bank, and the eventual winner, Better Talk Now.

Shake the Bank, Sent off at 106-1, did his part by setting the needed fractions while drawing off to an early 15-length lead. Stablemate Better Talk Now was among those who passed him in the stretch run, winning by almost a one length as the 2-1 favorite.

The players are the same this Saturday – Ramon Dominguez ships in to ride Better Talk Now and Tommy Turner takes the reins aboard Shake the Bank.

But the field they'll be facing – which includes English Channel, Silverfoot, Relaxed Gesture and Cacique – figures to be quite a bit tougher. English Channel and Cacique each carry 122 pounds, two more than the defending U.N. champion.

"We're nearly following last year's path with Better Talk Now," said Motion from his Maryland headquarters. "The only differences would be last year this race was his third start and he came into it off a bad race. This year this will be his second start and he comes into it off a very good race."

Better Talk Now's last race was a head victory in the CompUSA/Toshbia Dixie (gr. IIT) at Pimlico on Preakness Day. He rallied from last to first in the Dixie, a tactic he has used to many successes including last year's United Nations.

Both Better Talk Now and Shake the Bank race in the colors of Brushwood Racing Partners. Shake the Bank, a 6-year-old gelding, sports three wins in 29 starts, good for $138,724 in earnings, while Better Talk Now, a 7-year-old gelding, has a record of 12 wins from 33 starts and a bankroll of $2,772,077.

"Better Talk Now might even be better this year than he was last," said Motion. "He's learned to relax a little bit better and that should only help in this race and other races coming up.

English Channel, trained by Todd Pletcher, edged Cacique in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day before running a close fourth in the 1 1/4-mile Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) at Belmont Park one month ago.

The Bobby Frankel-trained Cacique held off the charging Relaxed Gesture by a nose to win the Manhattan in a blanket finish. Christophe Clement conditions Relaxed Gesture

The successful stayer Silverfoot won the 1 3/8-mile Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Churchill lawn for the third consecutive year May 29, defeating U.N. rival Ramazutti by a neck.

The United Nations was inaugurated at Atlantic City Race Course in 1953 before shifting north to Monmouth Park in 1999. This year's 53rd running will be the first over the new Monmouth turf course, which was installed over the off-season between 2005 and 2006 at a cost of $4.5 million.

$750,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT, Race 9, 4:52 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)
Monmouth Park - July 8th, 2006 - Race 9
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. English Channel (KY), 122, John R. Velazquez
2. Silverfoot (KY), 118, Mark Guidry
3. Relaxed Gesture (IRE), 118, Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Better Talk Now (KY), 120, Ramon A. Dominguez
5. Cacique (IRE), 122, Edgar S. Prado
6. Shake the Bank (KY), 118, Tom G. Turner
7. Ramazutti (MD), 118, Christopher P. DeCarlo