Riding Pretty Romps By 7½ In Smart N Classy 

June 2, 2024

Riding Pretty with Jairo Rendon riding winning the Smart N Classy way in front. (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

Apprentice Cesar Gonzalez Taken To Monmouth Medical For Precautionary Action Following Sixth Race Mishap

Tom Luicci/Monmouth Park

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Eddie Owens, Jr. always thought it was just a matter of time before Riding Pretty became a stakes winner. He just didn’t expect it to take this long.

Benefitting from an up-close stalking trip behind early dueling leaders, Riding Pretty pulled away for a dominant 7½-length victory in Sunday’s $85,000 Smart N Classy Handicap at Monmouth Park.

It marked Owens’ third stakes win of the meet, with the veteran conditioner having won the John J. Reilly Handicap with Speaking and the Long Branch Stakes with Sea Streak, who romped by a similar margin. 

Overall, Owens has four wins and two thirds from seven starts at Monmouth Park this year,

Longshot Autumn’s Turn rallied for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Beach Daze.

“I don’t want to say that this was the result of class relief, because Mia’s Crusade raced well two weeks ago when she won a stakes race and (Beach Daze) won this race last year and was coming off a win,” said Owens. “With the trip we had we were able to be clear on the outside when we were stalking the speed and (Beach Daze) was kind of pinned inside. She’s a lot better now than she was last. I ran her one too many times last year on the grass at Gulfstream. She has improved a lot.

“I thought she would win a stakes race way before this.”

Ridden by Jairo Rendon, Riding Pretty was third behind Bel Pensiero and Mia’s Crusade, with the two taking the six-horse field of Jersey-bred fillies and mares through plodding early fractions of :25.16 and :49.21 to the half.

Rendon then looped her around the pacesetters coming out of the final turn and there were no challenges after that. She paid $4.00 to win as the favorite.

The winning time for the mile was 1:39.25.

“I was worried about the slow early pace. But once they picked it up and a little bit, and being in a good position like she was, I knew she would finish well,” said Owens.

A 4-year-old daughter of Jack Milton owned and bred by Holly Crest Farm, Riding Pretty notched her fourth lifetime win from 18 starts and improved to 3-1-1 from six career starts at Monmouth Park. She was third in the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks a year ago and fourth in the Grade 2 Beldame Stakes last fall.

“I know she’s a talented filly and I got a lot of confidence in her with the way she worked the other day,” said Rendon. “So, I just put her in the position going into the stretch to let her run. The trip was perfect for her.”

Apprentice Cesar Gonzalez Taken To Monmouth Medical For Precautionary Action Following Sixth Race Mishap

Apprentice jockey Cesar Gonzalez was taken to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch for “precautionary action” after going down when his mount, My Name’s Jeff, stumbled at the half mile-pole in Sunday’s sixth race at Monmouth Park, according to track medical director Dr. Angelo Chinnici.

Chinnici said that Gonzalez, riding the 17th mount of his career, hit his head and complained of an “injured head and nose.” 

Very well done piece by The King, John Stettin twitter.com/jonathanstetti…

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