After finishing second in his two most recent stakes tries, Stanford took care of business Saturday, July 11 to win the $103,000 Long Branch Stakes atMonmouth Park. Watch Video
Sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds, Stanford rallied three wide off the final turn to seize the lead and then held off Souper Colossal, who had led early and proved determined in the stretch, to post the 1 1/4-length victory.
Trainer Todd Pletcher had considered M.V. Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, and Stonestreet Stable's Stanford for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) after the Malibu Moon colt finished a close second to International Star in the Louisiana Derby (gr. II). But Pletcher opted to skip that race and Stanford ultimately missed the Triple Crown races before returning June 6 with a runner-up finish to Japan in the Easy Goer Stakes on the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) undercard June 6.
In Saturday's race, Stanford raced just off the pace set by Live Oak Plantation's Souper Colossal, who went a half-mile in :48.01 and six furlongs in 1:12.63. Coming off the turn, Souper Colossal was first challenged by longshot Total Joint but Stanford quickly made it three across and surged to the lead.
Winning jockey Joe Bravo believes Stanford could put together a nice summer and fall campaign after winning the local prep race for the Aug. 2 William Hill Haskell Invitational Stakes (gr. I).
"He is a really classy horse. They were going an honest pace up front. I asked him to go a little bit before the quarter pole to just get him going and he answered really nicely," Bravo said. "If he comes back for the Haskell, the good thing is that we know he likes the course."
Favored Stanford paid $3 to win, $2.20 to place, and $2.10 to show while Souper Colossal returned $3 and $2.60. Total Joint returned $4 to show.
Iamahandsome Man was pulled up and vanned off. A track spokesperson said the son of Musket Man appeared to be standing fine before loading on the van.