Edited from a release
Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds could draw as many as eight starters, according to Monmouth Park stakes coordinator Mike Melendez.
The mile and a sixteenth event is the final local prep for Monmouth's signature event, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Sunday, Aug. 3. In years past, horses who ran well in the Long Branch have received invitations to return in the Haskell.
The probable starters in the Long Branch include R.C. Hill Stable's Christine's Outlaw, beaten a nose in the grade III Leonard Richards Stakes last out; G. Watts Humphrey Jr. & Shining Armor Stable's In Hand, who broke his maiden at Monmouth in May; Sumaya US Stable's Newfoundland, an allowance winner at Belmont last month; Arthur E. Vickers' Sky Soldier, winner of the Restoration Stakes here on June 15, and Edward Rudley's Yo, winner of three state-bred stakes at Philadelphia Park.
The possibles include Sanford Goldfarb's Happy Trails, winner of the Jersey Derby (gr. III) here in May; Rodney G. Lundock's Supervisor, who ran fifth in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) behind Empire Maker, and Earle I. Mack's Grand Hombre, winner of his only two career starts.
Dennis Manning, trainer of Grand Hombre, said the colt is scheduled to breeze Thursday morning, after which a decision will be made as to his Long Branch status. The colt's sire, Grand Slam, was third in the 1998 Haskell Invitational behind Coronado's Quest and Victory Gallop. Grand Hombre won an allowance race here in his most recent start on June 29.