November 30, 2021

Berned fires in Molly Pitcher while Name Changer makes a name for himself in Monmouth Cup

Berned captures the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park with jockey Joe Bravo aboard on Sunday, July 29, 2018 (c) Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

In addition to the Haskell Invitational (G1), Monmouth Park showcased two other graded dirt contests on Sunday.

Just two races before the main event, BERNED rallied three wide in the $104,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes (G3) to secure a three-quarter length victory on the wire.

The dark bay daughter of Bernardini held a 2 1/2 length advantage in the lane after running off the pace early. However, Dreamcall came with a furious late run to cut into that margin but ran out of room late as Berned finished 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:44.52 under jockey Joe Bravo.

It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to 4-5 favorite Divine Miss Grey, who dueled with eventual fourth-place finisher Unchained Melody through :23.51, :46.80 and 1:11.26 fractions early in the race. Squan’s Kingdom came next and was followed by Viva Forever, Valedictorian and Disco Rose.

Returning $10.20 for the win at 4-1, Berned is trained by Graham Motion and campaigned by Robert Masiello, West Point Thoroughbreds and Chris Larsen. The four-year-old miss earned her first graded score in this spot and added it to a pair of prior stakes wins in last year’s Safely Kept Stakes and this season’s Serena’s Song Stakes. She also boasts placings in the 2016 Tempted Stakes (G3) and this year’s Barbara Fritchie Stakes (G2).

Bred in Kentucky by AR Enterprises LLC, Berned improved her career record to 15-5-2-1, $374,781. She is out of the Grade 3-winning Giant’s Causeway mare First Passage and counts as her third dam Grade 3 heroine Win Crafty Lady.

That mare produced Grade 1 vixen Harmony Lodge, multiple Grade 2-winning millionaire and sire Graeme Hall, and Grade 3 victress Win McCool, who is herself the granddam of this year’s once-beaten Arkansas Derby (G1) winner Magnum Moon.

Name Changer wins the Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3) under jockey Paco Lopez at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 29, 2018 (c) Taylor Ejdys/EQUI-PHOTO

Two races earlier at Monmouth, Colts Neck Stables homebred NAME CHANGER held off 8-5 favorite Zanotti by a half-length in the $150,000 Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3) to add a first graded win to his resume.

The Alan Goldberg-trained five-year-old was bumped at the start before settling into a stalking position under jockey Jose Ortiz. The duo were three wide on the backstretch as Phat Man set a pressured pace of :23.48 and :47.86 in front of Remembering Rita. That runner took over through three-quarters in 1:11.50 but faded upon hitting the lane.

Name Changer, however, was just beginning his run while three wide on the final turn. The dark bay son of Uncle Mo hooked up with 8-5 favorite Zanotti and battled it out with that rival in the lane before inching away to score in a final time of 1:49.56 for nine furlongs on the fast dirt. He paid $10.40 as the 4-1 second longest shot on the board.

Zanotti was five lengths clear of Page McKenney on the line, with Remembering Rita, Let Me Go First and Phat Man completing the order of finish.

Name Changer earned his first stakes win in 2016 when taking the Richard W. Small Stakes at Laurel Park and also finished third that year in the West Virginia Derby (G2). The Kentucky-bred only competed twice last year but has run up a 3-0-1 mark from four starts thus far this season. His career record now stands at 15-7-1-3, $412,550.

Name Changer is out of the Grade 3-placed, multiple stakes-winning Northern Afleet mare Cash’s Girl. His third dam is Maggy Hawk, best known for foaling champion, dual classic winner and leading sire Afleet Alex, who is also by Northern Afleet.