He’spuregold wins the Irish War Cry Handicap… again! (Ryan Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)
By Tom Luicci/Monmouth Park
OCEANPORT, N.J.— The Irish War Cry Handicap may need to be renamed in the years to come at Monmouth Park.
The He’spuregold Stakes might be more apt.
He’spuregold, a 5-year-old gelding, rallied from off the pace to collar There Are No Words in the final sixteenth of a mile to win Sunday’s $85,000 Irish War Cry Handicap at Monmouth Park – the third straight year the Kelly Breen-trained son of Vancouver has won the race.
Owned by Roseland Farm Stable, He’spuregold has now won seven races from 21 career starts – six coming on the grass. He has won four state-bred stakes races at Monmouth Park.
“I kind of envisioned what happened today. I thought Chuck Spina’s horse (There Are No Words) would be right there and it would be a little bit of a stretch duel between us and that’s what happened,” said Breen. “He’s a special horse. I’m going through a lot right now (physically). With the time I’ve missed (following neck fusion surgery in mid-May), to come back after three weeks with the barn in such good order and this horse in such good order I have to tip my hat to my crew.
“Jesus Gomez is in charge when I’m gone. He’s been with me for 20 years. Despite me missing time we’re having a good meet and I really think that’s a credit to the good help I have.”
Ridden by Paco Lopez, He’spuregold returned $3.60 to win as the favorite in the field of 10 Jersey-breds going a mile on the turf.
The winning time over a course listed as firm was 1:34.01.
“I think this horse wants to go a little longer so I wasn’t really comfortable with a mile today,” said Lopez. “But he broke well and there were those three horses were having a duel early and I was able to get him comfortable and see everything happening.
“He is so much better as a grass horse. He’s a different horse on the turf. He has won a race on the dirt but I don’t know how since he is so good on the grass.”
With Crafty Don, Smithwick’s Spice and Leo Monte all dueling for the lead through early fractions of :22.95 and :46.62, Lopez had He’spuregold in fifth, just behind There Are No Words.
Coming out of the turn There Are No Words got the jump on the field and opened a 1½-length lead in mid-stretch before He’spuregold caught him late to win by three-quarters of a length. It was another 8½ lengths back in third to Smithwick’s Spice.
He’spuregold now has a 5-1-0 line from seven career starts on the Monmouth turf.