07/04/2011 6:31PM

Monmouth Park: Roaring Lion pulls off repeat in Mr. Prospector

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Deja Puglisi/EQUI-PHOTO.
Roaring Lion, ridden by Mike Luzzi, wins his first start for trainer Todd Pletcher in the Mr. Prospector.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Roaring Lion defended his title in the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, holding off 1-2 favorite Sean Avery on Independence Day at Monmouth Park.

Owned by the Repole Stable, Roaring Lion made a winning debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. Bruce Levine was in charge last year when Roaring Lion beat Wildcat Brief by a nose.

The stakes repeat was a more decisive 2 1/4 lengths with Mike Luzzi aboard.

Outsider Dabnabit was the early leader with Fabulous Strike, a career winner of more than $1.4 million, right there with him.

Roaring Lion, a 7-year-old gelding, joined the battle on the turn and surged to the front with a three-wide sweep.

The remaining threat was Sean Avery, coming off a career-best performance in the Longfellow Stakes.

Fourth in the early stages, Sean Avery started to pick it up on the turn. He moved into second turning for home but could reach Roaring Lion.

“I was still loaded,” Luzzi said of the stretch drive. “I still had a lot of horse underneath me. When he switched leads, he accelerated a little bit.”

Roaring Lion paid $13.20 to win in his season debut, and 12th career victory in 31 starts. The time was 1:08.98 for the six furlongs.

Fabulous Strike was third, a nose better than Wildcat Brief. Dabnabit was the trailer in the five-horse field.

Freud’s Honour connects at 18-1

Freud’s Honour pulled off an 18-1 upset in the $88,800 Choice Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

A New Jersey-bred, Freud’s Honour had never gone beyond 6 1/2 furlongs before leading all the way in the 1 1/8-mile Choice.

Setting a pokey pace over the course rated good, Freud’s Honour beat Beachcombing by 1 1/2 lengths with Crossed the Line third.

Angel Serpa rode the winner for trainer Greg Sacco. The time was 1:49.49.