Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Irish Strait Sentimental Choice in Monmouth Stakes

Isabelle de Tomaso's homebred gelding the "house" horse at Monmouth.

Isabelle de Tomaso's Irish Strait, winner of the May 27 Red Bank Stakes (G3T) over a mile on the Monmouth turf, will be the sentimental choice for the July 30, $200,000 Monmouth Stakes (G2T).

The local runner will be making his eighth start "Down the Shore" in New Jersey and is first of three state-bred runners on the day out of Tomaso's mare Irish Sovereign.

Irish Sovereign is also the dam of Irish War Cry (by Curlin ), the morning-line favorite for the day's coup de grace, the Haskell Invitational Stakes (G1), and Irish Defence (by First Defence) who will take on six in the six-furlong John J. Reilly Handicap in the contest following the Monmouth.

Irish Strait has class and good form on his side. In his outing prior to a wire-to-wire win in the Red Bank, he ran fourth, a half-length behind Ascend in Laurel Park's Henry S. Clark Stakes over a yielding turf course. Ascend came back in his next outing to win Belmont Park's grade 1 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Stakes. 

By English Channel , Irish Strait is trained by Graham Motion, who will also saddle Flaxman Holdings' Bolting.

The main danger in the Monmouth would be the Chad Brown-trained Money Multiplier. Although the 5-year-old Lookin At Lucky  ridgling is making his season debut in late July, his form last year was tops. For Seth Klarman's Klaravich Stables and William Lawrence, Money Multipiler was second in Monmouth's United Nations Stakes (G1T) to World Approval, and was second in Saratoga Race Course's Longines Sword Dancer Stakes (G1T) to champion turf male Flintshire . Money Multiplier's last outing of 2016 was a sixth-place finish in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf (G1T).

Bolting has the sharpest pedigree of the lot, but the 4-year-old son of War Front  has struggled at the graded/group stakes level in Europe and in the United States. Shipped here this spring and sent to Motion, Bolting faded to last, beaten 10 lengths in his stateside bow June 18 in Belmont's Poker Stakes (G3T). He has four wins from 10 starts but failed to hit the board in a pair of group tests in France and England earlier in his career.

Bolting, who will break from post 1, is a half brother to Senga (by Blame ) winner of this year's Prix de Diane Longines (French Oaks, G1). Both are out of the A.P. Indy mare Beta Leo, a granddaughter of Flaxman's blue hen Coup de Genie, a highweight and producer of four stakes winners.

Hard-knocking New York-bred Kharafa should also make things interesting with "Jersey" Joe Bravo aboard. In 2015, Kharafa (by Kitalpha) edged grade 1 winner Lochte in the one-mile Elkwood Stakes on the turf at Monmouth Park. He was also second in last year's Oceanport Stakes (G3T) at 1 1/16 miles at Monmouth.

Entries: Monmouth S. (G2T)

Monmouth Park, Sunday, July 30, 2017, Race 7

  • Grade IIT
  • 1 1/8m
  • Turf
  • $200,000
  • 3 yo's & up
  • 2:56 PM (local)
11Bolting (KY)Rajiv Maragh116H. Graham Motion12/1
22Money Multiplier (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJavier Castellano116Chad C. Brown9/5
33Kharafa (NY)Joe Bravo116Timothy A. Hills7/2
44Irish Strait (NJ)Orlando Bocachica120H. Graham Motion5/2
55Thatcher Street (KY)Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.116Ian R. Wilkes5/1
66Smooth Daddy (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateEric Cancel120Thomas Albertrani5/1