08/18/2013 5:44PM

Monmouth Park: Last Gunfighter outfights San Pablo in Iselin Stakes

William Osborn/Equi-Photo
Last Gunfighter (left) wins Sunday's Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes by a head over San Pablo.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – What a weekend for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Joe Bravo.

On Saturday, they teamed up to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga with Big Blue Kitten. On Sunday at Monmouth Park, they struck again as Last Gunfighter edged San Pablo in a stirring renewal of the Grade 3, $148,500 Philip H. Iselin Stakes.

Last Gunfighter and San Pablo, the defending Iselin winner, hooked up turning for home in a slugfest to the wire. Last Gunfighter and Bravo mustered one final surge, edging San Pablo by a head.

The 4-5 favorite, Last Gunfighter continued his impressive record since joining the Brown barn last season. The 4-year-old is 7 for 8 in Brown’s care, with a trio of Grade 3 wins: the Iselin, the Pimlico Special and the Excelsior at Aqueduct.

The only loss in that span was a second to multiple Grade 1 winner Flat Out in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.
In the Iselin, Bravo reserved Last Gunfighter off the pace as the trailer in the compact five-horse field. San Pablo, meanwhile, was caught up in a three-way pace battle with Margano and Raging Daoust.

San Pablo, the 17-10 second choice, cut the final corner with the lead and fought gamely as Last Gunfighter kept edging closer.

“I was told in the paddock that he’s a grinder,” said Bravo, who was aboard for the first time. “That played a big part in how I rode him. With that information, I knew I wasn’t going to get one quick punch, so I wound up moving at the three-eighths pole. He has a big, powerful stride, and he just kept coming and coming all the way to the wire.”

Jaguar Paw, also trained by Brown, was third after a stumble at the start. Raging Daoust ran fourth, with Margano the trailer.

Last Gunfighter paid $3.60 to win. The time was 1:52.03 for the 1 1/8 miles on the fast track.

• Bravo won again one race later with Back Away in the $40,000 second leg of the Malouf Auto Group Starter Handicap Series. He paid $9.40 to win for his fourth victory in 10 starts this season for trainer Derek Ryan.