PHILLIP H. ISELIN STAKES | PURSE: $150,500 | 3-YEAR-OLD & UP | GRADE 1 | 1 1/8 MILES
Heavily favored San Pablo mowed down Toby's Corner and pacesetter Small Town Talk in the stretch to easily win the $150,500 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park Aug. 18 for his seventh lifetime win in 12 starts.
Trained by Todd Pletcher for Burning Sands Stable, 4-year-old San Pablo landed his first graded stakes victory as the 9-10 choice in the field of six older runners. San Pablo won by 3 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:49.59 for the 1 1/18-mile distance on a fast track.
The winner came off a three-length victory in the Birdstone Stakes at Saratoga Race Course Aug. 2. The dark bay or brown colt by Jump Start has now won two of three starts on the Monmouth main track. He won a first-level allowance at the New Jersey shore oval last September before a fourth-place showing in the Monmouth Cup July 7.
Dan Bearden bred San Pablo, who is out of the Silver Ghost mare Hunt's Corner, in Kentucky.
San Pablo came under the whip from jockey Chris DeCarlo on the turn for home before responding in the stretch to blow past the leaders and win going away. Toby's Corner rallied late to nip Small Town Talk by head for second.
"The plan was to just get him comfortable early and into a nice rhythm," said DeCarlo, who previously won the Iselin in 2006 aboard Park Avenue Ball. "I just sat and waited with him until it was time to go. He's not a quick punch type of horse so I started riding him a little early so as to not give him too much to do. Once we straightened up in the lane he was rolling."
Small Town Talk, ridden by Pedro Cotto Jr., took the early lead from Eldaafer and Ponzi Scheme to lead while posting fractions of :23.40, :47.57, and 1:11.60. Toby's Corner, advancing into second as Ponzi Scheme gave way, was under a ride from Edgar Prado on the far turn, as was the stalking San Pablo, who was asked for more by DeCarlo while racing in third on the outside.
San Pablo found his best stride in the lane to take the advantage past mid-stretch and kicked clear in the final sixteenth of a mile. Pletcher previously won the Iselin in 2005 with West Virginia.
Improving his career mark to 7-3-1 in 12 races, San Pablo has now earned $382,800. Carrying 120 pounds, he paid $3.80, $2.40, and $2.10, and keyed an $8.60 exacta with 8-5 second choice Toby's Corner ($2.80, $2.40). Small Town Talk paid $3.60 to show.
Gourmet Dinner rallied mildly from last to take fourth. He was followed by Eldaafer and Ponzi Scheme. Self Control was scratched.