Park Avenue Ball earns shot in the Haskell with convinsing Long Branch win.

Park Avenue Ball earns shot in the Haskell with convinsing Long Branch win.

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Park Avenue Ball Passes Test in Long Branch

(from Monmouth release)
Char-Mari Stable's favored Park Avenue Ball proved he could be successful going two turns when he ran away from seven rivals for a 6 1/4-length victory in the $150,000 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park Saturday.

In winning for the first time in 2005 in the 1 1/16-mile Long Branch, Park Avenue Ball earned himself a start in the centerpiece of Monmouth's summer meeting, the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 7.

Park Avenue Ball, trained by Jim Ryerson and ridden by Chris DeCarlo, stalked the early pace of Shark and took command around the turn. In the stretch, the New Jersey-bred son of Citidancer asserted himself with ease as he drew away to stop the timer in 1:41 4/5 over the fast main track.

Chekhov, Golden Man, and Smokescreen hit the line together, with Chekhov gaining second by a nose over Golden Man. Smokescreen was just a head back.

Park Avenue Ball, who won for the first time beyond one mile, paid $5.20, $2.80, and $2.60 as the 8-5 choice. Chekhov returned $3 and $3.20 and completed an $18.40 exacta. Golden Man paid $4.80 to show.

The winner, who now has three wins and a second in four Monmouth starts, earned a purse of $90,000 for owners Charles and Marianne Hesse, bringing his career total to $488,600. It was his first win of the year in five starts. He ran second last out in the Withers (gr. III) at Aqueduct but struggled early last year when he was on the Triple Crown trail.

"He broke badly in his Florida races, especially the Florida Derby (gr. I)," said Ryerson. "But in the Withers last out, we saw if he broke well he could be prominent. I knew that if he broke well today, he could lay up behind the speed and that would help him get the two turns. Chris rode a great race, and the colt ran huge today. Now we have to give him a shot in the Haskell."

Park Avenue Ball was the third winner of the day for DeCarlo, who won the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) last week aboard Capeside Lady. "My horse was really impressive," the rider said. "It's hard to say if he's ready for Afleet Alex, but he's 3-for-4 at Monmouth."

(Chart, Equibase)