Patiently guided by Ramon Dominguez, Bushwood Racing Partners' Better Talk Now stormed home along the inside to win Saturday's $750,000 United Nations (gr. IT) on a soft Monmouth Park turf course.
Jammed behind a wall of horses after gaining ground at the top of the stretch, Dominguez angled last year's John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) hero back to the inside and the 6-year-old gelding did the rest, finding room to thunder past his rivals and beat Silverfoot to the wire by three quarters of a length. The final time for the 1 3/8-mile event was 2:20 2/5.
Dominguez, the regular jockey for Better Talk Now, was injured in a spill Tuesday but was able to ride.
"Everything seemed to work out perfectly for me," Dominguez said. "I could see the other horse (Shake the Bank) was way out in front. I didn't know by how many, but I knew he was way out there. I wasn't worried.
"I was surprised when the rail opened up. I planned on going outside, but once that happened, I knew I had to go inside. I pretty much stayed on the fence the whole way. I was expecting him to finish up. He really finished strongly today."
Bushwood stablemate Shake the Bank, entered as a rabbit by trainer Graham Motion to ensure a fast pace, did exactly that, opening up on the field by 15 lengths after a mile before the 106-1 shot gave way in mid-stretch. Silverfoot, ridden by Robby Albarado, was the first to reach Shake the Bank and the gray threatened to take it all before 2-1 favorite Better Talk Now swept up in the closing stages. Request for Parole, the 2004 United Nations winner, finished third, nosing out Cool Conductor.
"I was thrilled that it really worked out," Motion said. "I got a little nervous at the quarter-pole when it looked like the rabbit would keep going. But our plan couldn't have worked out any better. Ramon rode a great race."
Better Talk Now, who relishes a soft turf, got exactly what he needed Saturday to post his second win in three starts this year. He was coming off a fourth-place finish behind Cool Conductor in the 1 1/8-mile Dixie (gr. IIT) at Pimlico May 21, and the extra quarter-mile was clearly to Better Talk Now's benefit.
Better Talk Now was at the back of the nine-horse field as Shake the Bank took them along at a clip of :25 2/5, :49 2/5, 1:14 3/5 and 1:40 3/5. No one else was interested in testing those fractions but as the field completed the third turn, the leader was shortening stride and the challengers were closing in quickly. Better Talk Now, who was able to save ground for Dominguez throughout, angled out briefly for the stretch run but with nowhere to go they moved back to the inside.
The Winborne Farm-bred son of Talkin Man improved to 10-5-2 in 28 starts and with a winning purse of $450,000, went way past the $2 million mark in career earnings, which now stand at $2,272,077.
He paid $6.40, $3.40 and $2.80. Silverfoot, who won the 11-furlong Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) May 30, returned $5.80 and $4.40. Request for Parole, making his second start in 2005, was $6.20 to show.
After Cool Conductor came Exterior, Spruce Run, License To Run, Shake the Bank and Gunning For. Navesink River scratched.