A field of eight line up in Saturday’s $300,000 United Nations (G1) at Monmouth Park including Bigger Picture, who competes in the race for the fourth consecutive year.
The Michael Maker trainee was third last year after winning the race in 2017. The gelding checked in eighth in the 2016 edition.
The eight-year-old has won 13 of his 40 career starts, with a dozen of his wins coming on turf.
“I hope he continues racing at this level a little longer, but when the time comes that he is not on the top of his game and can’t do it he will be missed dearly,” Maker said. “He’s exceeded all of my expectations. It’s hard to believe this is his fourth straight year in this race.”
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The gelding will break from the rail and is the 3-1 second choice. Jockey Joe Bravo will ride him for the first time since a second in the 2017 Bowling Green (G2) at Saratoga in his first start after winning this race that summer.
Maker also saddles Zulu Alpha (4-1), who was seventh in the Man O’ War (G1) at Belmont Park in his last outing.
Trainer Chad Brown sends out the 2-1 morning line favorite Focus Group, winner of the Pan American (G2) two back at Gulfstream Park who was sixth in the Man O’ War in his last outing.
Brown also sends out Brazilian bred Arrocha (12-1) who was eighth in the Fr. Marcy (G3) off the layoff in his U.S. debut.
Completing the field are Manhattan fifth place finisher Channel Cat (7-2) and ninth place finisher Catcho En Die (10-1), Elkhorn fifth place finisher Hunter O’Riley (12-1) and Monmouth (G2) fourth place finisher Monarchs Glen (15-1).
The United Nations is one of four stakes on the card on Saturday. The supporting stakes are the $150,000 Eatontown (G3), $150,000 Philip H. Iselin S (G3) and the $100,000 Lady’s Secret.
Let’s head out to the Jersey Shore for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Monmouth Park Race 11 The United Nations (G1) Post time 5:28 ET
1 Bigger Picture 3-1
2 Channel Cat 7-2
3 Arrocha 12-1
4 Focus Group 2-1
The Mike Maker trainee makes his fourth start in this race. He ran eighth in 2016, won it in 2017 and was third last year, beaten two lengths. The gelding comes into this year’s edition off a sharp win in the Elkhorn (G2) at Keeneland over yielding ground going 1 ½ miles. He bounced back after running seventh in the Pan American (G2) two back which was won by Focus Group. He started off his 2019 campaign by winning the John B. Connolly (G3) at Sam Houston, a race he won last year as well. He picks up Joe Bravo who was aboard this gelding for his win here in 2017. He should be able to work out a good trip from mid pack.
The colt makes his third start of the year, a fourth in the Ft. Marcy (G3) and last out a fifth in the Manhattan (G1) against a tough field that included the winner Bricks and Mortar and runner up Robert Bruce. The Todd Pletcher trainee won three times last year in nine starts including taking the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs at 1 5/16 miles. The colt earned a career top last out in the Manhattan and was only beaten 3 ¾ lengths against a stronger group of foes. Pletcher has won this race four times, the most recent victory coming with Turbo Compressor in 2012. Luis Saez gets the call here and this colt looks primed for a top effort in his third start of his current form cycle.
The five-year-old Brazilian bred is one of two in here sent out by the Chad Brown barn that won this race last year with Funtastic. Brown’s other runner Focus Group (2-1) will get more action, but this guy may be worth another look. He was disappointing eighth in his U.S. debut in the Ft. Marcy which was off a nine-month layoff. He looked like a short horse and the fact Brown brings him back in a Grade 1 looks like a good sign we will see a much improved effort out of him. He won 4 of his 11 starts in Brazil including two Group 1 races and he was disqualified after crossing the wire first in a third. He has done his best work t 1 ¼ miles but looks as if the extra ground here will not pose a problem.
WIN: Big Picture to win at 3-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,2 / 1,2,3,4
TRIFECTA: 1,2 / 1,2,3,4 / 1,2,3,4,6