Updated on 09/16/2011 8:57AM

Haskell undercard recap


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The connections of Clearly a Queen decided to pass on the Grade 2 Diana Handicap at Saratoga July 27 and await the Grade 3 Eatontown Handicap at Monmouth Sunday, and the decision clearly paid dividends as she nosed out Laurica to win her second consecutive Grade 3 on the turf.

Clearly a Queen has been the top handicap mare stabled on the grounds this summer since coming to trainer Terri Pompay's barn. Under the tutelage of Pompay, she has three wins in four starts. She entered the Eatontown, for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles, off a victory in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Handicap.

Clearly a Queen ($9.20), with Eibar Coa aboard, raced on the rail in fourth off a moderate pace set by Presumed Innocent along the backstretch. Coa guided her off the rail turning for home, moving along the two-path while Laurica, the longest shot at 46-1, moved to her outside. Those two got by Presumed Innocent with one-sixteenth of a mile to go, and Clearly a Queen kept an ever slim advantage along the rail, just nosing out Laurica at the wire. She covered the distance in 1:44.02. Presumed Innocent held for third.

"I was worried about the kind of trip she would get, because she can't stop and start at a mile and a sixteenth," said Pompay, who trains the 5-year-old Clearly a Queen for John Franks. "Eibar rode her perfectly. He was patient, and he found the hole when he needed to."

* Autonomy entered the $65,000 Battlefield Stakes for older horses on the turf with two consecutive allowance victories, but his initial stakes appearance in this country came in a tough field made of mostly stakes and graded-stakes winners.

However, Autonomy managed the competition well, splitting horses with one furlong remaining to defeat Revved Up by three-quarters of a length. Spruce Run was third.

Autonomy ($16) was making his fourth start for trainer Phil Oliver after switching to that barn this year after being trained by Christophe Clement. It was his third consecutive victory, and he improved to 5-3-3 in 15 career starts. Autonomy, a 5-year-old, covered the nine-furlong distance over a soft turf course in 1:50.66 with Carlos Cruz aboard.

* Entitlement has become a different horse on turf, as he improved his turf record to three wins in four starts with a victory in the $65,000 Lamplighter Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Entitlement was the first horse John Hennig, based in Kentucky, saddled at Monmouth this meet. With Pat Day aboard, Entitlement ($8.60) closed from off the pace to capture his first stakes by wearing down pacesetter Jeb's Wild in the last sixteenth of a mile. He finished one length in front of Jeb's Wild and covered the 1 1/16-mile distance in 1:45.07. Alphabetical was third.

* The New Jersey-bred Summer Swing has become a patented six-furlong closer, and he displayed his tremendous late kick over a track favoring speed when he closed from sixth to first to catch True Passion by a neck in the $65,000 Teddy Drone Stakes.

Summer Swing came five-wide turning for home and had a perfect pace setup as True Passion dueled with Sea of Green through wicked fractions of 21.58 and 43.80. Once Summer Swing came to True Passion, that horse dug in very strongly, but was outfinished in the final seventy yards. Ticket to Freedom was third.

Summer Swing ($27.80) covered six furlongs in 1:08.84, and earned his second consecutive stakes victory and third of the meet for trainer Kevin Sleeter and owned Gerald Sleeter.

* Carlos Cruz suffered a lower back injury from his spill aboard Ana's Rainbow in the eighth race, but precautionary X-rays taken at Monmouth Medical Center after the accident were negative.