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Updated on 07/07/2012 6:38PM
Monmouth Park: Turbo Compressor can't be caught in United Nations marathon
By Mike Farrell
OCEANPORT, N.J .- Turbo Compressor scored a front-running victory in the $505,000 United Nations to give trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Joe Bravo a sweep of the graded stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park.
One race earlier, they combined to capture the Grade 2, $195,000 Monmouth Cup with Rule.
Turbo Compressor capped the hugely productive afternoon and gave Pletcher a fourth victory in the premier turf event of the meet. He also won with Balto Star (2003) and English Channel (2006-07).
Not only did the 4-year-old Turbo Compressor join the ranks of Grade 1 winners, Turbo Compressor also locked up a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf by taking the Win and You’re In race.
Not bad for a horse making only his fourth appearance on turf.
Turbo Compressor was a decent stakes runner on dirt, having finished third here last summer in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes.
The switch to grass sparked a transformation.
Pletcher first made the shift at Gulfstream Park where Turbo Compressor roared to a pacesetting allowance victory.
He was not a factor in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs before leading all the way in the Colonial Turf Cup with Bravo back aboard three weeks ago. He has now captured consecutive half-million dollar stakes.
Distance was a concern as Turbo Compressor stretched out to 1 3/8 miles for the first time. But with Bravo setting a measured pace, Turbo Compressor handled that challenge with ease.
“He really flew home,” Pletcher said. “He was able to lay down the fractions and that was just what we were looking for. We’ll take him to Saratoga and see what our options are.”
Turbo Compressor pulled clear turning for home and finished under wraps, beating the late running Air Support by 1 3/4 lengths with Al Khali third after steadying at the quarter pole.
“This horse is just getting bigger and stronger,” Bravo said. “Did you see when he turned for home today? It just seemed like he grew.”
He has certainly grown into a factor in the turf division.
The time was 2:12.88 over the firm course. Turbo Compressor paid $7 to win as the second choice in the seven horse field.
Freud’s Honour, the lone New Jersey-bred in the field, was fourth.
Slim Shadey, the 2-1 favorite, was fifth as the California-based gelding dropped far off the pace and could not mount a serious rally.
“He got slammed pretty good right at the start,” said jockey David Flores. “I wanted to be in the top three spots early on but after that start I had no choice but to be at the back.”
Brilliant Speed was sixth, followed by Eldaafer.
Would like to see Turbo Compressor give it another try on the SA Dirt. He's got the fastest Turf figures in the nation, was not embarrased after facing two of the top dirt handicap horses in MMM and Ron T Greek, and the handicap horses out west is lacking any depth. If the east coast horses can't handle the surface, Turbo could be a nice play in the classic. Instead of taking on the best of the Europeans which would be a daunting task.
The start didn't help Slim Shadey, but I wonder if his promising young trainer, Simon Callaghan, didn't overplay his hand. Slim Shadey is a nice horse, but his only North American graded stakes win was a grade 2 in a desperate finish at 10 furlongs. After running 2nd in mid-April grade 2 at 12 furlongs, Callaghan ships him to Kentucky for a grade 1 at 9 furlongs. The horse responded with a good 2nd before being asked to come back to California for a grade 1 at 10 furlongs vs. Acclamation. After another runner-up finish, Callaghan takes him 3 weeks later across the country for a gr.1 at 11 furlongs. This time he has to go from mild and dry weather to brutal heat. That's a John Henry schedule, and Slim Shadey isn't close to being John Henry.
What a joke of a race with all the other jockeys riding scared
When this horse is allowed to run comfortable splits up front he is dangerous. He is definitely the second best marathon turf horse in the country next to Acclamation. The BC Turf will be interesting with those two plus some good European horses. Hope everything with these horses stay kosher so we can have a good BC at Santa Anita
Was the winner wearing caulks?
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