07/28/2013 4:49PM

Monmouth Park: Pants On Fire wins Monmouth Cup; Take Charge Indy injured

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Pants on Fire and jockey Paco Lopez win the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup by 1 3/4 lengths Sunday.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Pants On Fire pulled a 7-1 upset in the Grade 2, $203,000 Monmouth Cup after odds-on favorite Take Charge Indy was pulled up entering the final turn.

Take Charge Indy appeared well in control of the 1 1/16-mile race formerly known as The Meadowlands Cup. He was cruising on the lead when the injury occurred.

Gary Stevens quickly pulled up the winner of last year’s Grade 1 Florida Derby, and the 4-year-old colt was vanned back to the barn area with a left-front condylar fracture that will require surgery.

“I was having the ride of my life, just having a ball, just cruising, figuring how far I wanted to win by,” Stevens said. “I heard a loud pop at the half-mile pole. He tried to go on, but then he helped me get himself pulled up, a very intelligent horse.”

The dominant winner of the Grade 2 Alysheba Stakes on the Kentucky Oaks undercard, Take Charge Indy was trying to bounce back from an inexplicably poor effort in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap last month at Churchill Downs. Everyone, including trainer Patrick Byrne, expected a bounce-back effort from the 7-10 favorite.

But when Take Charge Indy was pulled up, the Monmouth Cup was stunningly up for grabs. Pants On Fire pounced on the opportunity to secure his first graded stakes win since the Grade 3 Pegasus here in 2011.

Pants On Fire beat Hymn Book by 1 3/4 lengths, with Ponzi Scheme third. Paco Lopez was aboard for his fourth win on the afternoon.

Pants On Fire paid $16.20 to win. The time was 1:45.86. Norman Asbjornson was fourth, followed by Small Town Talk and Big Sur.

– additional reporting by David Grening