Monmouth Park will offer five stakes races, including four graded, on Sunday’s Haskell Invitational (G1) undercard and the action kicks off with the $100,000 Oceanport (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on turf.
Synchrony, who posted impressive wins in the Muniz Memorial (G2) and Fair Grounds H. (G3) earlier this season, heads the seven-horse field. A chestnut son of Tapit, Synchrony was transferred to Michael Stidham this year and has thrived at age 5. He recorded a respectable third in the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) over a soggy course and finished in the same spot in the Arlington H. (G3) last out, rallying well late after a poor start. Joe Bravo retains the mount.
A Grade 1 winner in 2015, Force the Pass returned from a 19-month layoff with a victory in the May 5 Cliff Hanger at Monmouth and exits a sixth in the Poker (G3) at Belmont. Horacio Karamanos rides the 6-year-old for Alan Goldberg. Cliff Hanger runner-up Irish Strait, who posted his fourth win over Monmouth’s turf when capturing a restricted event last out, will be forwardly-placed for Graham Motion.
The $150,000 Monmouth Cup (G3) drew six older horses and 15-time stakes victor Page McKenney enters off a pair of solid efforts at the Jersey Shore, winning the Salvator Mile (G3) and finishing second in the Philip Iselin (G3). Regular pilot Karamanos will be up for Mary Eppler and the 8-year-old gelding will square off against five foes in the 1 1/8-mile test.
Cornhusker (G3) hero Remembering Rita invades from Pairie Meadows with a three-race win streak and stakes winner Zanotti may appreciate the class relief following a sixth in the Suburban (G2) at Belmont Park.
Dream Awhile returns for the $100,000 Matchmaker (G3). Winner of the June 30 Eatontown (G3), the 4-year-old War Front filly is one of two Chad Brown-trained distaffers in the 1 1/8-mile turf affair. She was imported to United States last year and broke through with her first graded tally last time, scoring by about a length. Bravo will be up.
Brown is also responsible for Elysea’s World, winner of the Suwannee River (G3) at Gulfstream three back and third most recently in the Eatontown. Other contenders include Eatontown runner-up Special Event and last-out stakes scorer Lift Up.
Divine Miss Grey is the likely favorite among eight fillies and mares in the $100,000 Molly Pitcher (G3). A multiple stakes winner at Aqueduct, the 4-year-old daughter of Divine Park exits a victory in the June 30 Lady’s Secret at Monmouth. Kendrick Carmouche guides the Danny Gargan trainee.
The 1 1/16-mile event has also attracted Grade 2 winner Unchained Melody; Dreamcall, who exits a pair of stakes triumphs at Prairie Meadows for Steve Asmussen; and Berned, who is perfect from two local starts for Motion including the Serena’s Song two back.
The $75,000 Wolf Hill completes the stakes fare on the undercard and a full field of 12 is set for the 5 ½-furlong turf race. Horses of interest include stakes winners Imprimis, Oak Bluffs and Pool Winner.