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Monmouth Park: Drum Roll back for Sapling Stakes
By Mike Farrell
OCEANPORT, N.J. – Monmouth Park showcases its premier 2-year-old stakes Sunday, the Grade 3 Sapling and the Sorority for fillies. Both six-furlong races, each worth $100,000, attracted interesting fields.
Todd Pletcher, blessed with a barn full of babies, will be a major player in both stakes. He has an uncoupled trio of Overanalyze, Drum Roll, and Lawn Man in the 10-horse Sapling. The Pletcher influence also extends to Coach A.J., a colt was claimed away by trainer Patricia Farro for $50,000 out of maiden win at Saratoga.
Both Overanalyze and Lawn Man were cross-entered in Monday’s Grade 2 Hopeful at Saratoga, where they are expected to run.
The three Pletcher runners all exit races at Saratoga. Overanalyze and Lawn Man both make their stakes debuts after winning efforts in their first starts.
Drum Roll is the only Pletcher runner with Monmouth experience, having his debut here in July before heading to north to run fourth in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.
Pletcher won the 2008 Sapling with Silent Valor.
Brave Dave looks like the best locally based Sapling prospect. After a debut win at Calder in late June, Brave Dave joined trainer Eddie Plesa Jr’s Monmouth division. His second start was at Saratoga, a fourth-place finish after battling for the lead in the Grade 2 Sanford.
Brave Dave, a homebred for Plesa’s wife, Laurie, and David Melin, turned in a pair of strong works at Monmouth as his Sapling tune-ups.
“He’s coming up to it as good as a horse can come up to a race,” Plesa said. “His last two works have been exceptional. This is a race I’ve been pointing for all summer long. I’ve been very anxious for the race to come up. He’s coming out of that race [the Sanford] with more knowledge and more experience, and he will go forward off that effort.”
Brave Dave, named for owner Melin, is by Put It Back out of Sing That Song, a filly Plesa trained who was winless in 12 tries at Calder before retiring to the broodmare ranks at the end of the 2006 season.
Pleas hopes that Sing That Song, a $150,000 purchase as a 2-year-old, makes a more substantial mark in her new career.
“We gave a lot of money for the mother, and she never reached the heights that we wanted,” Plesa said. “If we can win a race like this, or hit the board, it will mean a lot to the family. It’s exciting on all fronts.”
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