Joseph W. Sutton's Bradester marked his third win in a row on Sunday, taking the G2 Monmouth Cup in convincing fashion over a sloppy track at the Jersey Shore. The 6-year-old son of Lion Heart covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.21 while geared down late, crossing the wire as Joe Bravo pleased with a 2 1/2-length advantage. Bradester also won the Monmouth Cup last year for trainer Eddie Kenneally.
“We never breeze in the mud, but he does go out in the mornings on the mud,” said Kenneally. “He did run in it once in a graded stakes and finished second as a 3-year-old and it was a big effort that day. He loves Monmouth. We know he loves a dry Monmouth, but we weren't sure if he would love a wet Monmouth. Evidently he handled it quite well.”
Bradester and Bravo jumped out of the gate very quickly, but were immediately joined in a four-way tussle for the lead that included Mr. Jordan, Encryption, and Blofeld. Before the first turn Bradester had proven himself the leader, opening up a one-length gap on Blofeld in second, with Mr. Jordan tucked in along the rail in third. Bradester led through a first quarter in :23.21, after which Mr. Jordan took over second position with two lengths to make up on the leader through a half in :46.83.
Mid-way through the far turn, Bradester began opening up on the field with no movement whatsoever from Bravo. At the head of the lane, his lead was nearly six lengths over Mr. Jordan in second. Bravo let the horse gallop out to the sixteenth pole, then stood up and eased him home, allowing Scuba to close the gap to just 2 1/2 lengths, though Bradester was never in danger of being beaten. Mr. Jordan held on to finish third, and Adirondack King was fourth.
“Honestly, coming down here I thought this was my best spot today,” said Bravo. “I had the most pressure on me because I thought I could not get beat. After seeing how the track is playing today and how Bradester performed, I think he's twice as good as I thought he was before the race.
“He had a lot to overcome today between the surface and not being able to take a breather. They went at him hard and he had to prove he was the best horse today.”
Bred in Kentucky by Doug Branham, Bradester was a $195,000 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select Sale 2-year-old in training purchase. He captured his first Grade 1 event last out in the Stephen Foster, and appears poised to continue along a top-notch season in his 6-year-old year. Overall, Bradester's record stands at 10-6-2 from 24 starts, with earnings of over $1.17 million.
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