Monmouth Park celebrated the 5th annual New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival Aug. 26 as 15,568 fans watched Carrots Only run down pacesetter Fagedaboudit Sal to post a neck victory in the featured $135,000 Charles Hesse Jersey Breeders' Handicap.
All 10 races on the Monmouth card were for New Jersey breds.
Ridden by Chris DeCarlo, Carrots Only covered the 1 1/16-mile event over a fast main track in 1:42 2/5 and returned $5.20, $3 and $2.80 as the favorite in the field of eight colts and geldings. Fagedaboudit Sal completed the $15.40 exacta and paid $3 and $2.80. It was 7 1/4 lengths back to Midnight Express, who paid $5.60 to show.
Trainer John Mazza scored his first victory of the meet with Carrots Only. "He ran a big one. I've been with Holly Crest Farm for 40 years and Charlie (Hesse) was a dear friend, so this means a lot."
The Hesse win was the eighth in 31 starts for Carrots Only, who won this race two years ago as a 4-year-old. Sunday's win boosted Carrots Only's lifetime bankroll to $364,828. The 6-year-old by Defrere from the Brocco mare Veggie races in the colors of Holly Crest Farm.
In the $110,000 Friendly Lover Handicap, Joey P. shot through on the inside at the quarter pole before drawing off to a 2 1/2-length score, stepping the six furlongs over the main track in 1:09 3/5.
Trained by Ben Perkins Jr., Joey P. returned $3.60, $2.40 and $2.10 as the preferred half of the entry with John's Pic. Both geldings are owned by John Petrini. Charley's Diamond completed a $13.40 exacta and paid $3.60 and $2.60. It was another half-length back to Karakorum Tuxedo, who paid $2.80 to show in the field of seven colts and geldings.
Joe Bravo, poised to take his 13th Monmouth riding title, rode the winner. Joey P. earned his 12th in 22 starts. A 5-year-old by Close Up from the Luckey Jin Beau mare Luckey Lipco, he has now earned $579,333.
The $110,000 Jersey Girl Handicap saw Jenny Bean Girl close down the center of the course and post a 1 1/4 length win after covering the 1 1/16-mile trip in 1:44 3/5.
Ridden by Stewart Elliott, his fourth winner on the card, Jenny Bean Girl returned $4, $3.40 and $2.40 as the favorite in the field of seven fillies and mares. Jersey Gia completed a $39.80 exacta and paid $8 and $4. Solar Powered, the early pacesetter, tired to be third, good for a $4 show mutuel.
The winning trainer is J. Willard Thompson. The Jersey Girl win was the 6th in 28 starts for Jenny Bean Girl, a 5-year-old mare by Sefapiano from the Dixieland Band mare That's a Plenty. She has now earned $315,733 for her owner Ocean View Stables.