Saturday’s $612,000 United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park appeared to be an opportunity for lightly-raced contenders to raise their profiles in the turf division. Instead, eight-year-old stalwart Therapist was the one to score a new career high in his 42nd start. The latest to be rejuvenated after being claimed by trainer Mike Maker, the 12.30-1 shot stormed past 6-5 favorite Catnip and became a millionaire.
Therapist was one of a trio representing Maker, whose leading contender was the even older Red Knight. That nine-year-old ranked as the 2.70-1 second choice after earning his biggest win in the May 13 Man o’ War (G1), and following up with a fourth in the June 10 Manhattan (G1). Red Knight continued his fine form by getting up for third here, giving Maker the top and bottom rungs of the trifecta.
Patiently handled by Hall of Famer Javier Castellano, Therapist bided his time well off the pace established by the 58-1 So High. Although the longshot opened up by as many as five lengths, So High wasn’t exactly motoring as he doled out splits of :24.76, :49.32, and 1:14.26 on the firm course.
Catnip was in the proverbial catbird’s seat at the head of the main body of the field, which trimmed the deficit passing the mile mark in 1:39.03. The favorite took charge on the final turn, and rebuffed Foreign Relations who tried to move in tandem.
But Therapist was now gaining momentum wider out. Catnip could find no answer in deep stretch, and Therapist drove to a 1 1/2-length decision. The Michael Dubb colorbearer completed 1 3/8 miles in 2:14.50 and paid $26.60.
Catnip, who might have preferred to wait a tad longer before committing for home, held second by three-quarters of a length. Late-running Red Knight came out on top of a three-way photo for third, shading Limited Liablity and Planetario. Foreign Relations, So High, Yamato (Maker’s other runner), and Kygo rounded out the order of finish.
Therapist has now amassed $1,353,815 in earnings from his 42-13-5-8 line. Ten of those wins have come in stakes, including eight for Oak Bluff Stables and trainer Christophe Clement. Bred by his original connections, the well-named son of Freud frequented minor stakes as well as New York-bred events. His rare forays into graded company yielded only one placing, a third in the 2018 Palm Beach (G3).
As he advanced in age, Therapist ended up dropping in for a tag late last year, and he’s since been claimed three times. Maker and Dubb snared him for $50,000 out of a third-place effort at Gulfstream Park Jan. 20, and haven’t risked him in the interim.
Therapist promptly won his first two starts off the claim, notably the April 1 Pan American (G2) on the step up to 1 1/2 miles. His graded breakthrough indicated that distance was what he needed at this stage, but he checked in a disappointing eighth in the May 20 Louisville (G3). Therapist bounced back with a head second in the June 17 Chorleywood Overnight S. at Ellis Park, and improved again on the Jersey Shore.
The third United Nations winner for Maker, Therapist is also his oldest. Bigger Picture (2017) was six, and Aquaphobia (2020) seven years old. All three were claiming successes.
Therapist is a full brother to New York-bred stakes scorer Fresco. Their dam, the Smart Strike mare Lady Renaissance, is from the family of 2000 Haskell (G1) star Dixie Union. Ironically, Dixie Union was trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, who sent out Saturday’s Haskell winner, Geaux Rocket Ride.
The top two from the June 17 Eatontown (G3), Consumer Spending and Surprisingly, again served up the exacta in the $300,000 Matchmaker (G3), but their race dynamic was different. While Surprisingly could claim a bit of a hard-luck story in the Eatontown, where she was giving weight and trying to sneak through on the inside, she had every chance in the Matchmaker and simply got caught by even-money favorite Consumer Spending.
Trained by Chad Brown for Klaravich Stables, Consumer Spending was unhurried in fifth in the seven-horse field early. Surprisingly was perched in fourth, in closer striking range of pacesetter Canisy through fractions of :24.41, :49.04, and 1:13.16. The tracking Bipartisanship was the first to pounce swinging for home, but Surprisingly rolled up on the outside and quickly forged clear.
Then Joel Rosario produced Consumer Spending. Outkicking Surprisingly down the lane, the More Than Ready filly nabbed her by a half-length in 1:48.00 for 1 1/8 miles.
Gam’s Mission rallied from last for a non-threatening third, another 2 3/4 lengths astern. Bipartsisanship crossed the wire fourth, followed by Personal Best at a trip short of her best, Canisy, and longshot Tic Tic Tic Boom.
In addition to purse money, the top three finishers are awarded a season to one of a trio of WinStar stallions; Global Campaign, Improbable, and Independence Hall are participating in the farm’s sponsorship initiative.
Consumer Spending’s fifth stakes victory enhanced her scorecard to 11-6-2-1, $737,000. The winner of the 2021 Selima S. and a close sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), the gray captured last season’s Memories of Silver S. and Wonder Again (G2) before a third in the Belmont Oaks (G1). She was runner-up in her comeback in the May 7 Beaugay (G3), edging third-placer Surprisingly. Their fledgling rivalry carried over to Monmouth.
Bred by Forging Oaks Farm in Kentucky and sold for $200,000 as a Fasig-Tipton yearling, Consumer Spending is out of the Scat Daddy mare Siempre Mia. Her second dam, multiple Grade 3 vixen Shaconage, hails from a productive Chilean family.