Making a triumphant return to the races, Henny Hughes put on a show at Monmouth Park Saturday with a 10-length victory in the $150,000 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.
The Hennessy colt trained by Kiaran McLaughlin and ridden by Joe Bravo, exploded to the lead in mid-stretch and drew off to the wire. He stopped the timer in 1:08 1/5 for six furlongs on the fast main track, just two ticks off the record of 1:07 4/5.Sent off the 2-5 favorite in the field of four 3-year-olds, Henny Hughes returned $2.80 and $2.10 (no show wagering) and topped a $10.60 exacta with Saint Daimon, the longest price in the field at 9-1. He's Got Grit, the 2-1 second choice, finished third, almost a length behind Saint Daimon, with Changing Weather fourth.The race unfolded swiftly, with He's Got Grit setting fractions of :22 1/5 for the quarter and :44 3/5 for the half and Henny Hughes sitting just off his shoulder. Henny Hughes rolled up outside the leader on the turn, put his rival away in mid-stretch, and widened his margin to the wire."This is what I wake up in the morning for," Bravo said. "He was spectacular today. Kiaran had this one ready to roll. Last year when I rode him, he was just a boy, but he's filled out and is a man now."I didn't want to use him early on, and I just let him do what he wanted. By the time we reached the top of the stretch, he was still well within himself, and after that he just drew off."Henny Hughes, who races for Zabeel Racing International, had not started since finishing second in the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) last Oct. 29 at Belmont. The chestnut colt broke his maiden at Monmouth a year ago and went on to win the Tremont and Saratoga Special (gr. II) in New York while trained by Patrick Biancone.
The colt was sold to Zabeel Racing International before the Breeders' Cup and McLaughlin took over the training. Henny Hughes spent the winter training in Dubai. He was returned to the United States in April, and McLaughlin prepared him for his 2006 debut.The colt earned a prize of $90,000 for his owners, bringing his career total to $734,820.