08/11/2012 5:27PM

Monmouth Park: Wine Princess leads all the way in Monmouth Oaks win

Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Wine Princess, with Shaun Bridgmohan up, wins the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Wine Princess stepped up from a first-level allowance victory to win the Grade 3, $101,000 Monmouth Oaks for 3-year-old fillies Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Breaking alertly on the rail, Wine Princess and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan set all the fractions over the drying-out track listed as fast.

The pack tightened rounding the final turn, but Wine Princess cut the corner smartly and sprinted clear. She beat Proud Pearl by 2 1/4 lengths as the 9-5 second choice.

“She was cruising coming to the quarter pole, and I had to get her attention,” said Bridgmohan who has been aboard for all five of Wine Princess’s starts. “Once I did, she was all business.”

It was a major step forward for an impeccably bred filly. Her dam is the champion Azeri, a career winner of more than $4 million, and her sire is the freshly inducted Hall of Famer Ghostzapper.

Wine Princess, a $475,000 yearling purchase, is starting to live up to the pedigree.

After finishing second in her debut this spring in a grass sprint at Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Margolis, Wine Princess won two of three at Churchill Downs before entering the Monmouth Oaks.

“She was a little temperamental in the beginning,” Margolis said. “She has that high-strung pedigree. We worked with her gradually, and she showed right from the get-go that she could run. We’ve spaced her races out. She’s not a big strapping horse, but she carries her weight well, and we just want to do right by her.”

Margolis will ship Wine Princess back to Churchill Downs early next week and then map a plan going forward. His listed the $1 million Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing on Sept. 22 or the $200,000 Indiana Oaks on Oct. 6 at Hoosier Park as possible next assignments.

Proud Pearl drifted out in the lane, triggering an objection from Paco Lopez aboard Morrow Cove, the 17-10 favorite, that was not upheld.

Jemima’s Pearl overcame a slow start to get third. Final Escrow was fourth, followed by Morrow Cove and Defy Gravity.

The time was 1:44.11 for the 1 1/16 miles.