05/18/2013 6:36PM

Monmouth Park: Za Approval overcomes traffic in Red Bank Stakes

Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo
Za Approval, ridden by Joe Bravo, earns his second straight Grade 3 win in the Red Bank Stakes.

Za Approval, a gray horse whose hair has gone nearly white, usually is not hard to pick out in a race, but so buried was he in traffic Saturday at Monmouth Park during the Red Bank Stakes that the striking coat was difficult to locate. But, finally extricated from trouble at the top of the stretch, there came Za Approval, running down another light gray horse, Tune Me In, to win the Red Bank in a game performance.

A 5-year-old gelding bred and owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Christophe Clement, Za Approval only graduated from allowance-class racing to stakes this past winter at Gulfstream Park, but now he has won back-to-back Grade 3s, having captured the Appleton in his start before the Red Bank.

Za Approval’s win in the $100,000 Red Bank might well have been his best performance yet, with the Ghostzapper gelding forced to overcome multiple spots of traffic before finding space to launch a strong rally under Joe Bravo. Tune Me In had put away pacesetting Two Notch Road before turning for home and was clear a furlong from the finish, but he was no match for Za Approval’s sharp move.

The winning time for the mile was 1:34.52, and Za Approval, heavily favored, paid $3.80.