05/27/2017 6:03PM

Irish Strait scores front-running win in Red Bank

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Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo
Irish Strait, under Orlando Bocachica, wins the Grade 3 Red Bank by 2 1/4 lengths.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Saturday morning, trainer Graham Motion worked Irish War Cry at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland for a possible start in the Belmont Stakes. In the afternoon, he sent out Irish War Cry's 5-year-old half-brother Irish Strait to win the Grade 3 Red Bank at Monmouth Park.

Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry and Irish Strait are both out of the mare Irish Sovereign. Irish War Cry is by Curlin. Irish Strait is by English Channel. Both were bred in New Jersey by their owner, Isabelle de Tomaso.

Irish Strait went right to the lead in the one-mile Red Bank, which was held over "good" turf. He clicked off fractions of 24.27 seconds, 48.98, and 1:12.24 while being rated on an open lead by jockey Orlando Bocachica. He then held 3-1 second choice Synchrony safe in the stretch to win his first career stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.

"I didn't know the plan was to go to the lead, but it was a smart move," Motion said. "This horse has really improved this year. Numbers-wise he has been very solid."

Irish Strait paid $21.40 in the 10-horse field. He came home in 23.42 to complete the course in 1:35.66. He is now 5 for 17 in his career with earnings of $236,138.

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The Red Bank was the third win on the card for Bocachica.

"My thinking was to take him to the lead because that’s where he runs his best race," Bocachica said of Irish Strait. "He stayed relaxed the whole way and once I asked him to run, he went.”

Runner-up Synchrony was given a ground-saving trip by jockey Mitchell Murill. He finished well to be second-best but could not gain on the winner in the stretch. Rose Brier, who was racing in the Red Bank for the fourth consecutive year, raced closest to the winner early but was outfinished in the drive.

All Included, the 2-1 favorite, was a little hot in the post parade. He bobbled at the break, raced well back early, and then lacked a closing response.

Motion said he was pleased by the Saturday workouts of both Irish War Cry and Miss Temple City, who will make her next start at Royal Ascot. Irish War Cry worked five furlongs in 1:01.20 over the Fair Hill dirt track, while Miss Temple City was timed in 50.20 for a half-mile over soft turf.

Motion said Irish War Cry "will have to have a very good week" if he is to move on to the Belmont Stakes.