08/18/2012 6:29PM

Monmouth Park: San Pablo rallies to win first graded stakes in Iselin

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
San Pablo, with jockey Chris DeCarlo riding, gets his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – San Pablo rallied to win the Grade 3, $150,500  Philip H. Iselin on Saturday, giving Todd Pletcher yet another stakes win at Monmouth Park.

Pletcher has eight stakes victories to lead all trainers at the meet. Christophe Clement is next with four.

This was the second start at the meet for San Pablo who ran fourth as the 7-5 favorite in Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on July 7. He regrouped with a sharp overnight stakes win at Saratoga and returned to Monmouth once again in the favorite’s role.

The 9-10 choice of the 11,589 on a pleasantly cool afternoon, San Pablo settled nicely into fourth as jockey Chris DeCarlo found a spot entering the first turn. Small Town Talk, longest price in the six-horse field at 28-1, was the leader with Toby’s Corner, the 2011 Wood Memorial winner, prompting the pace after recovering from a stumble at the break.

DeCarlo asked San Pablo for run entering the final turn, and the 4-year-old responded with a strong and steady rally.

Turning for home, Small Town Talk was gamely clinging to the lead as San Pablo kept advancing, eventually pulling clear by 3 1/2 lengths at the wire. Toby’s Corner outgamed Small Town Talk by a head for second.

“What I learned from the last time I rode him is that he is one-paced,” said DeCarlo who is 2 for 2 on San Pablo. “It’s a steady 12, 12, 12 every eighth. He won’t explode, but he gives you that same steady run. I spoke to Todd this morning, and the plan was just to let him get into a good rhythm.”

DeCarlo, who had three wins on the card, had guided San Pablo to a first-level allowance win here last September.

San Pablo paid $3.80 to win, running the 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.59. The Iselin, his first graded victory, improved San Pablo’s record to 7 for 12.
Gourmet Dinner was fourth, followed by Eldaafer, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner, and Ponzi Scheme.

Angel Serpa picked up the mount on Gourmet Dinner. Kendrick Carmouche was named to ride, but left Monmouth after the sixth race, four races before the Iselin, to fulfill two stakes commitments on Saturday night.

Carmouche had originally planned to ride the Iselin and fly to Penn National, but those arrangements fell through. He needed the additional time to make the drive.

Early morning rain washed the four turf races onto the main track rated good at the start of the card. It was upgraded to fast after the fourth race.