07/09/2011 7:15PM

Monmouth Park: Rattlesnake Bridge caps perfect afternoon for McLaughlin

Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Rattlesnake Bridge (left) edges All of the Above to win the Long Branch Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Rattlesnake Bridge and trainer Kiaran McLaughlin were big winners Saturday at Monmouth Park.

The improving Rattlesnake Bridge earned an invitation to the $1 million Haskell on July 31 with his nose win over All of the Above in the $165,000 Long Branch Stakes for 3-year-olds.

The victory by Rattlesnake Bridge also completed a perfect afternoon for McLaughlin on the Jersey Shore: 4 for 4. The four training victories on one card equaled the track record held by J. Willard Thompson (1975), Robert Klesaris (1987), John Forbes (1989), and Bruce Alexander last year.

“I was going to call the stewards to see if we could unscratch Labonte in the last race,” a beaming McLaughlin said. “We’re having a pretty good day.”

Rattlesnake Bridge, a late-developing gray colt, capped the hugely successful afternoon.

The Long Branch was only his fifth start and his first try around two turns.

“We always felt like the further, the better,” McLaughlin said of the son of Tapit who was a $450,000 purchase as a 2-year-old. “He settles and always makes a run. Distance was not a problem, and two turns he obviously liked today, so we’ll hopefully come back for the Haskell.”

Rattlesnake Bridge, the 6-5 favorite with Eddie Castro aboard, roared into contention on the final turn with a four-wide move and showed great determination to edge past the New Jersey-bred All of the Above in the shadow of the wire.

The time was 1:41.71 for the 1 1/16 miles.

Little Drama was third.

Battlefield: Sayif wires in an upset

Sayif ($28.40) posted a front-running upset over the yielding course in the $75,900 Battlefield Stakes.

A 5-year-old bred in Ireland, Sayif broke sharply and quickly sped away to a sizeable lead with Channing Hill aboard. He clicked off very quick fractions (22.69 seconds, 44.55, and 1:09.52) considering the course condition and opened an insurmountable five-length margin turning for home.

Sayif held off the rallying Yummy With Butter by one length, with Monument Hill third.

Sayif got his first U.S. win in his fifth try for trainer Patrick Biancone. The time for the mile was 1:34.40.