08/02/2015 5:39PM

Heart to Heart wires field in Oceanport

Barbara D. Livingston
Heart to Heart wins the Oceanport Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths Sunday at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Victor Espinoza tuned up for his ride aboard American Pharoah by guiding Heart to Heart to a wire-to-wire win in the Grade 3, $150,000 Oceanport Stakes, the race immediately preceding the Haskell.

Heart to Heart went right to the lead in the Oceanport and clicked off fractions of 25.56 seconds, 48.46, 1:11.27, and 1:34.59 en route to a final time of 1:40.79 in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Heart to Heart, trained by Brian Lynch, won by 1 1/2 lengths.

Heart to Heart paid $6.60 to win as the second choice in the seven-horse field. Hothersal finished second at 12-1, 2 1/4 lengths in front of the 9-2 Cage Fighter.

Kharafa, the 6-5 favorite, was forced to check between horses nearing the first turn of the Oceanport, raced prominently to the stretch, and tired to finish last.

Heart to Heart, a 4-year-old son of English Channel, now is 6 for 16 in his career. The Oceanport was his third start and first win of 2015. Last year at 3, he won the Grade 3 Commonwealth and Grade 3 Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs and the Better Talk Now at Saratoga in front-running fashion.