Jockey Nik Juarez was on fire Saturday at Monmouth Park, winning four of the first 10 races on the card. In the G3 Monmouth Oaks the leading rider guided St. Elias Stable's Teresa Z to a 1 1/4-length victory over longshot Sine Wave, just the third win of the filly's career. Trained by Anthony Margotta, Jr., the 3-year-old daughter of Smart Strike covered 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:43.43.
“That worked out perfectly,” Margotta said. “She showed speed early on in her career and we've been teaching to wait and come with a big run. Nik (jockey Juarez) couldn't have rode a better race. I'm very blessed to have St. Elias Stable in my life and this wonderful horse.”
After a relatively even beginning Teresa Z was near the rear of the field in the early going, ahead of only one rival as the frontrunning Overture carved out fractions of :23.25 and :47.48. Overture was kept company by Frank's Folly and Sine Wave. Sine Wave was placed at the rail down the backstretch, keeping Overture in the two-path around the far turn. At the head of the lane, Overture still held a 3/4-length lead over Sine Wave, but the rest of the field was starting to converge.
Juarez took Teresa Z from the rail, through the pack then wide around the field, and made a strong rally down the lane to get past the dueling Overture and Sine Wave. Teresa Z swept by that pair to hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front, and Sine Wave just got in front of Overture for second. Babybluesbdancing finished fourth.
“We knew there would be a lot of pace in the race and the key with this filly is to get her covered up and relaxed to let her make her one run,” Juarez said. “Everything set up beautifully today and the plan worked out perfectly.”
Bred in Kentucky by Besilu Stables, Teresa Z was a $635,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. It took four starts for the filly to break her maiden, but she hasn't finished off the board since then. The Monmouth Oaks is her first graded win, and improves her record to three wins from 10 starts, with earnings of over $120,000.
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