07/01/2012 4:48PM

Monmouth: Maple Forest uses speed to snag Blue Sparkler

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David Owens/Equi-Photo
Maple Forest gives jockey Joe Bravo his fourth win of Sunday's card in the Blue Sparkler for fillies and mares.

Locally based Maple Forest won both the early speed duel and the race, giving jockey Joe Bravo his fourth win of Sunday’s program at Monmouth Park in the $60,000 Blue Sparkler Stakes for fillies and mares.

It was the second straight stakes win locally for the 4-year-old Maple Forest ($5.20), who went wire to wire in the May 28 Red Cross. A daughter of Forestry trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Blue Heaven Farm, Maple Forest now has 3 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts over Monmouth’s main track.

   “I’m glad this filly likes me,” said  Bravo. “I’ve ridden her four times with three wins and one second.  She’s just one fast filly and did it so easily today.  She was just cruising and I could have pushed the button whenever I wanted.”

Maple Forest was pressured early by My Sunshine Gal and jockey Paco Lopez, through a swift opening quarter-mile in 21.99 seconds. Maple Forest, giving six pounds to My Sunshine Gal as the 123-pound co-highweight, pulled 1 1/2 lengths clear after a half-mile in 45.12 and maintained that margin to the wire in a time of 1:10.84 for the six furlongs. My Sunshine Gal easily held second, 3 1/2 lengths in front of Beat the Blues, the 6-5 favorite in a field of six fillies and mares.