07/27/2014 2:41PM

Majestic River too speedy for Molly Pitcher foes

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Tom Keyser
Majestic River, with Rosie Napravnik aboard, wins the Molly Pitcher on Sunday.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Majestic River dueled 3-2 favorite Natalie Victoria into submission and drew off to a 2 1/2-length victory on Sunday in the Grade 2, $203,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.

The Molly Pitcher was the first of six consecutive stakes, culminating with the $1 million Haskell Invitational.

On paper, the race was a two-horse battle between Majestic River and Natalie Victoria. Both had won their previous two races, including a stakes at Monmouth.

And it played out that way on the racetrack.

Natalie Victoria seized the early lead with Majestic River right on her flank. Majestic River won that contest of wills, pulling clear at the top of the lane. She scooted away to her fifth win in eight starts with Rosie Napravnik aboard for the first time. A 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher, Majestic River ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.11.

“It set up perfect,” said assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta. “A few of the speeds inside scratched. We told Rosie in the paddock you might have just one horse to track, and when it’s time to go, just go.”

It was the third Molly Pitcher victory for Pletcher. Napravnik now has consecutive wins in the stakes, having captured last year’s renewal on Joyful Victory for trainer Larry Jones.

Majestic River paid $11.80 to win. Montana River was second followed by Lucky Rag Doll, Zucchini Flower, Triple Arch, Made Up and Natalie Victoria.