September 18, 2021

Dr Post, Graceful Princess sweep Monmouth dirt stakes for Pletcher, Rosario

Dr Post wins the Monmouth Cup (Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Dr Post and Graceful Princess rallied to give Todd Pletcher and Joel Rosario a sweep of the dirt graded stakes on Saturday’s Haskell Day undercard at Monmouth Park, the $300,000 Monmouth Cup (G3) and $250,000 Molly Pitcher (G3).

Monmouth Cup (G3)

After launching a wide bid on the far turn, Dr Post rallied past rivals in the stretch to post a 1 1/4-length victory. Winner of the Westchester (G3) in his seasonal debut two back, and fifth most recently in the Met Mile (G1), the four-year-old colt notched his third career stakes win for owner St. Elias Stable and Todd Pletcher.

Joel Rosario was up on the gray son of Quality Road, and Dr Post rated about five lengths off the pace as Bal Harbour established opening splits in :23.11 and :46.97. Bankit launched a menacing move to take the lead in upper stretch, but gave way as Dr Post and runner-up Night Ops forged past in the final furlong.

Off as the 5-2 second choice, Dr Post completed the 1 1/8-mile distance in 1:47.53. Night Ops, who was off at 4-1, wound up 1 3/4 lengths clear of Bankit. It was nearly two lengths back to 8-5 favorite Ny Traffic, and Bal Hour and Justinthenickoftime completed the order.

Bred in Kentucky by C. Clark Choyce, Dr Post sold for $400,000 as a 2019 Keeneland September yearling. He’s out of the Grade 2-winning Hennessy mare Mary Delaney. Runner-up in last year’s Belmont S. (G1) and third in the Haskell (G1), Dr Post has now earned $700,635 from a 9-4-1-1 record.

Molly Pitcher (G3)

Whisper Hill Farm’s homebred Graceful Princess broke through with her first stakes tally, getting up to spring a 14-1 upset. Trained by Pletcher and ridden by Rosario, the regally-bred mare traveled 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.67.

By three-time leading sire Tapit, Graceful Princess is the first stakes winner out of 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace, an earner of more than $2.5 million.

Graceful Princess opened her five-year-old campaign with a neck third in the Doubledogdare S. (G3) at Keeneland in mid-April, and she didn’t handle the sloppy track when finishing fifth most recently in the June 9 Obeah S. (G3) at Delaware Park. With her initial stakes win, the bay improved her career line to 13-3-1-2.

She settled in fourth as Mrs. Danvers established splits in :24.02 and :46.99 before throwing in the towel. Our Super Freak and Bajan Girl hooked up leaving the far, dueling until Graceful Princess joined the mix on the far outside in deep stretch.

After striking the front late, Graceful Princess edged away to win by three-quarters of a length. Bajan Girl took second at 3-1, a half-length better than 7-2 Our Super Freak. Next came Thankful, 2-1 favorite Vault, Water White, Reina La Kelsy, and Mrs. Danvers.