As oppressive heat spread from the midwest to the East coast, many tracks chose to cancel their race cards, but Monmouth chose to run their full card of races to start the day. However, as the heat pressed on, they decided to abbreviate their race card and postponed their six stakes races and the Haskell Invitational Stakes to later in the evening.
Molly Pitcher Stakes - G3 - $150,000
MIDNIGHT BISOU broke from the third post in a field of five and sat back in third biding her time while COACH ROCKS set fractions of :24.79 and :49.06. Mike Smith kept the filly in check along the rail through the far turn and made her move in the stretch. Moving by COACH ROCKS with ease, MIDNIGHT BISOU took the Molly Pitcher Stakes win by a length in 1:43.55. COSMIC BURST finished third.
The Molly Pitcher was the filly's prep race for the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga on August 24th. That race is a Win and You're In challenge race for the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
Haskell Invitational Stakes - G1 - $990,000
After a five hour delay, the Haskell was contested with slightly cooler temperatures at Monmouth park. It was a day for the favored MAXIMUM SECURITY to redeem himself after the Kentucky Derby drama.
JOEVIA scratched early in the day, leaving the Haskell with a field of six. BETHLEHEM ROAD grabbed the lead and set fractions of :22.92 and :46.71 with MAXIMUM SECURITY sitting a length back. After the half mile, the pacesetter faded and MUCHO GUSTO moved up to battle it out with KING FOR A DAY and MAXIMUM SECURITY. KING FOR A DAY lost speed and the stretch dual began. At the eighth pole, MAXIMUM SECURITY led by ahead and MUCHO GUSTO tried to edge past, but MAXIMUM SECURITY held on and pulled away in the final sixteenth.
With this redeeming win, the colt earned himself a spot in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November. MUCHO GUSTO was a clear second with SPUN TO RUN following eight lengths behind.
San Diego Handicap - G2 - $200,000
On the other side of the country, Del Mar hosted the San Diego Handicap with a four horse field.
CATALINA CRUISER broke fast from the one post and to the lead under jockey Joel Rosario. The colt set fractions of :24.52, :49.94 and 1:13.04. While the other three in the field pressed throughout, MONGOLIAN GROOM made a late move and charged up the middle of the track, but CATALINA CRUISER held on with just enough gas left in the tank to take the win by a length.
The San Diego Handicap is a prep race for the Grade 1 $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic on August 17th, a Win and You're In Breeders' Cup Classic qualifier.
Coaching Club American Oaks - G1 - $500,000
Saratoga delayed their day of racing due to the heat as well, holding the Coaching Club American Oaks on Sunday instead of Saturday. GUARANA made her two turn debut, running fast opening fractions of :24.27, :49.49 and 1:13.58 with CHAMPAGNE ANYONE flanking her closely. OFF TOPIC came up to make it three wide but Jose Ortize patiently waited and asked GUARANA for more. POINT OF HONOR took second, a length back, followed by OFF TOPIC. CHAMPAGNE ANYONE and BOXWOOD finished out the order.