Nicole Russo Jul 16, 2020
Barbara D. LivingstonShe’s a Julie (center) gets up at the wire to win the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps in her last start on June 13 at Belmont Park.
Good things come to those who wait. Stick around until the finale of Monmouth’s marathon 14-race Saturday card, and watch one of the most accomplished runners on that program as multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire She’s a Julie headlines the Grade 3, $250,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares.
The Molly Pitcher (Race 14, 6:51 p.m.) is one of a pair of graded stakes races for older horses going two turns on dirt, joined by the Grade 3, $300,000 Monmouth Cup (Race 10, 4:40 p.m.). Both races have robust fields, as 11 go in the Molly Pitcher and 10 in the Monmouth Cup.
She’s a Julie, who is trained by Steve Asmussen for the partnership of Bradley Thoroughbreds, Tim and Anna Cambron, Denali Stud, Rigney Racing, and Madaket Stables, first emerged in the second half of her 3-year-old season, winning the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks and Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks. She hit her best stride as an older runner, as last year she won the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs by a half-length after a relentless drive. She also won the Grade 3 Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn and placed in three other graded stakes, including a third-place effort in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga behind Midnight Bisou and Elate.
She’s a Julie finished sixth in the Shawnee Stakes in May at Churchill in her 2020 debut and first start in more than seven months. She improved off that effort to score her second career Grade 1 win in game fashion, besting Point of Honor by a nose in the Ogden Phipps Stakes on June 13 at Belmont.
She’s a Julie, who has drawn the rail and may need to use her tactical speed, will have local rider Jose Ferrer in the irons, as regular rider Ricardo Santana Jr. is remaining at Saratoga for the meet. Ferrer is second in the Monmouth rider standings early in this meet.
Royal Flag, making her stakes debut as she ships in for Chad Brown, will have early Monmouth leader Paco Lopez aboard. The changes in situation may not faze her, as she has won three straight races at three different tracks with three other riders. The filly’s only loss came when she was third sprinting at Belmont last year. She subsequently won her maiden going a mile at Aqueduct, then won two allowance races going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream and Churchill. She posted a Beyer Speed Figure of 92 in her most recent outing, which compares favorably with She’s a Julie’s last-out 94 in the Phipps.
Horologist won three races at Monmouth last year, highlighted by a score over Jaywalk in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks. However, she has been off the board in three graded stakes outings this season, most recently being pulled up and walked off after taking an awkward step in the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes on May 31 at Santa Anita.
Vault, who was third in the Shawnee and second in the Obeah Stakes at Delaware in her two most recent outings, picks up Mike Smith as her rider as he comes to Monmouth for the day. The field also includes graded stakes-placed Queen Nekia and Sweet Sami D, stakes winners Gotham Gala and Our Super Freak, and stakes-placed Wrong Color. Cloud Charmer and Flat Awesome Jenny complete the lineup.