08/12/2017 7:53PM

Recent stakes success continues for Margotta as Teresa Z takes Monmouth Oaks

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Teresa Z returned $13.20 for a 1 1/2-length victory in Saturday's Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

When trainer Anthony Margotta Jr. won the Colleen at Monmouth Park last week, it was his first stakes victory since 1998. On Saturday, he won his first graded stakes in more than 18 years when Teresa Z posted a mild upset in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks.

Prior to last week, Margotta had not won a stakes since Run Man Run took the Grade 1 Malibu at Santa Anita in December 1998. At that time, winning graded stakes was not uncommon for Margotta. He won the Grade 1 Whitney in 1993 with Brunswick and in 1994 scored with Turk Passer in the Grade 2 Bowling Green.

But substance abuse problems sidelined Margotta's career and he is just now getting back on track. Margotta is 10 for 34 at the Monmouth meet and, in addition to Teresa Z, conditions Colleen winner Bronx Beauty, who is untested in two career starts.

Margotta, a New Jersey native, started out in racing working for trainer Jim Crupi at Monmouth Park. He began training on his own in 1986.

Teresa Z, a daughter of Smart Strike, was purchased by Crupi's New Castle Farm, which is located in Ocala, Fla., for $635,000 at the 2015 Keeneland September sale. She is owned by the St. Elias Stable of Vincent Viola, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Always Dreaming.

"I’m very blessed to have St. Elias Stable in my life, and this wonderful horse," Margotta said.

Teresa Z lagged back early in the 1 1/16-mile Monmouth Oaks. She lodged a four-wide bid nearing the stretch, then ran by Overture and Sine Wave to win by 1 1/2 lengths under Monmouth's leading rider Nik Juarez, who had four wins on the card.

"She showed speed early on in her career and we’ve been teaching to wait and come with a big run," Margotta said. "Nik couldn’t have rode a better race."

Teresa Z paid $13.20 in the nine-horse field and was timed in 1:43.43. She is now 3 for 10 in her career. In her prior start, she had won a first-level Penn National allowance.

Overture set the pace in the $100,000 Monmouth Oaks until the final sixteenth of a mile. Sine Wave, who raced forwardly throughout while saving ground, battled inside of Overture in the stretch and bested her for second by three-quarters of a length.

My Miss Tapit, the 5-2 favorite, finished fourth, beaten 3 1/4 lengths. Proud and Fearless, the 3-1 second choice, dropped well back early and finished a non-threatening sixth.