06/05/2016 5:33PM

Middleburg gives fifth Red Bank win to Clement, Bravo

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Joe Bravo brings Middleburg home first by a neck over Vyjack in the Grade 3 Red Bank.

Nobody has won the Grade 3 Red Bank Stakes at Monmouth Park more often than trainer Christophe Clement and jockey Joe Bravo.

Clement and Bravo each claimed their fifth Red Bank victory when they teamed up with 2-1 favorite Middleburg in the one-mile turf stakes Sunday afternoon.

Middleburg ($6.60), whose previous two races on Monmouth’s turf course last summer produced a win in the Grade 3 Cliffhanger and a nose loss in the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup, came into Sunday’s $100,000 race following a head defeat in the Grade 3 Miami Mile in his 6-year-old debut on April 30.

Bravo had Middleburg in third, just a half-length behind pacesetter Fredericksburg, through six furlongs in 1:10.38. Rose Brier, racing in second throughout the race, put a head in front at the eighth pole, but Middleburg kicked clear inside the sixteenth pole and held off a late charge by Vyack to prevail by a neck. It was three-quarters of a length back to Rose Brier in third.

The winning time on firm turf was 1:33.62.

“It’s fun riding the best horse,” said Bravo, who last won the Red Bank in 2013 aboard the Clement-trained Za Approval. “Not too many horses have the turn of foot that he has.

“We got the perfect trip in behind horses and he settled great,” Bravo added.  “Around the turn we moved to the outside and he just ran those horses down.”

A son of Lemon Drop Kid owned by Bertram and Diana Firestone,  Middleburg has now won 6 of 19 starts and $429,760.