An experiment with blinkers has ended after one race for Synchrony, who faces a competitive but more manageable group in Saturday’s $200,000 Monmouth (G2) at Monmouth Park.
The multiple graded stakes-winning Pin Oak homebred donned the hood for a second stab at the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs on May 4. Third in the event last year, he made a lesser impact this time around finishing seventh, more than five lengths behind the division-leading Bricks and Mortar.
Synchrony has tended to shine at both his winter base of Fair Grounds and at Monmouth Park, where he captured the Oceanport (G3) and Red Bank (G3) last summer. Trevor McCarthy is tabbed to ride the six-year-old son of Tapit for the first time.
Chad Brown has two for the 1 1/8-mile turf feature. Almanaar was a narrowly-beaten second in the Arlington Million (G1) last August, but failed to reproduce that form in three subsequent tries. The firmer the ground the better for the seven-year-old veteran. Brown also sends out Grade 2 winner Projected, second by a head in the $100,000 Cliff Hanger at Monmouth earlier in the month.
Monarchs Glen, a Group 3 and Royal Ascot handicap winner in England, makes his second appearance stateside following a rallying sixth in the $100,000 Opening Verse at Churchill Downs. Also invading from Kentucky is Markitoff, who nearly bumped off Bricks and Mortar in the Muniz Memorial (G2) at Fair Grounds and set the pace before retreating to sixth in the Old Forester Turf Classic last time.
Second in this event two years ago, Irish Strait enters off a photo-finish win in the $100,000 Henry Clark at Laurel. Up the Ante and Force the Pass also have back class in graded company.
The 13-race card on Saturday also includes the $150,000 Salvator Mile (G3) on the main track. Recent Charles Town Classic (G2) runner-up Diamond King seeks his first graded stakes win against the likes of 2018 Philip H. Iselin (G3) winner Just Call Kenny and the New Jersey-bred veteran Sunny Ridge.