Imaginary Stable and Glen Ellis' War Story hadn't won a race since March of 2018, but the gutsy chestnut didn't let that stop him from prevailing in Saturday's G3 Monmouth Cup. Despite being passed at the head of the lane, the 7-year-old son of Northern Afleet dug in gamely to defeat Bal Harbour by a neck on the wire. Ridden by Luis Saez for Jorge Navarro, War Story (7-1) completed nine furlongs over the fast main track in 1:47.65. The 4-5 favorite Coal Front finished a distant third.
“It wasn't an easy race, not at all,” Navarro said. “We had home court advantage. He likes this track. What a big race he ran. He's got a ton of heart and a ton ability, still at his age. He wants to do it. He's a happy animal.”
Coal Front sped out of the gate to take the lead, setting the pace with mild pressure from War Story through fractions of :23.58, :47.32, and 1:10.81. Bal Harbour was three-wide behind that pair in a joint third with Lemonade Thursday in the early going.
Rounding the far turn, both War Story and Bal Harbour made their moves to draw alongside the leading Coal Front. Coal Front dropped back at the top of the stretch, and Bal Harbour had the slight advantage over War Story as the duo turned toward the wire together.
Though War Story looked beaten, he battled back against Bal Harbour throughout the length of the stretch and got his head down first where it mattered most – at the wire. Bal Harbour had to settle for second, while Coal Front finished third.
Bred in Kentucky by Jack Swain III, War Story was a $51,000 2-year-old purchase at the Fasig-Tipton sale and a $585,000 RNA at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Summer Horses of Racing Age sale. The Monmouth Cup is just his second graded stakes victory and seventh overall from 35 starts, but the gelding has compiled earnings of over $2.8 million in his career.
“I'm still scratching my head why he didn't show up that day (beaten 50¾ lengths in the Grade 2 Brooklyn last time out June 8),” Navarro continued. “I gave him the time off. The name says what he is. What a warrior. He's the only one from American Pharoah's class of 2015 that's still going. It's amazing to have a horse like this still going around. You don't see that anymore.”
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