December 1, 2022

Sacred Life swoops in Monmouth; Stolen Holiday lives up to name in Eatontown

Sacred Life ridden by jockey Manuel Franco won the Monmouth Stakes at (Photo by Ryan Denver/ EQUI-PHOTO)

Trainer Chad Brown won the Monmouth S. (G3) for the sixth straight year on Saturday, this time courtesy of Sacred Life. But in the companion Eatontown (G3), fellow Brown favorite Fluffy Socks wound up fourth behind Stolen Holiday, who aptly stole the race.

Monmouth (G3)

Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables, Wonder Stables, and Michael J. Caruso’s Sacred Life had made only one prior appearance at the Jersey Shore, resulting in a four-length romp in the 2020 Oceanport S. The French import renewed his enthusiasm for Monmouth in its eponymous $162,000 stakes to go 2-for-2 over the course.

The 11-10 favorite settled in a midpack sixth as Epic Bromance established fractions of :24.05, :48.22, and 1:12.69 on the firm turf. The closest stalker, Safe Conduct, challenged down the lane, but Sacred Life was bearing down on them both. Rolling to the fore with Manny Franco, the seven-year-old veteran won going away by 1 1/4 lengths.

Safe Conduct wore down Epic Bromance by a half-length for the runner-up spot. Yes This Time edged Mohs to round out the superfecta, and they were followed by Glynn County, Hidden Stash, Ever Dangerous, T D Dance, and Oceans Map. Tax was a vet scratch, while Brown’s cross-entered Public Sector ran in Saturday’s Poker (G3) instead and placed third to stablemate Masen.

Sacred Life clocked 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.70 to snap a four-race losing skid. Since capturing last fall’s Knickerbocker (G3), the son of Siyouni missed narrowly in the Seabiscuit (G2) at Del Mar, closed belatedly for sixth in the Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) and fourth in the Muniz Memorial Classic (G2), and most recently placed second in the Fort Marcy (G2).

Sacred Life’s first stakes score came in his homeland in the 2017 Prix Thomas Bryon (G3). His resume includes placings in the 2018 Prix du Prince d’Orange (G3), Prix Daphnis (G3), and Grand Prix du Nord; 2019 Bernard Baruch (G2), Lure S., and Seabiscuit; and 2021 Maker’s Mark Mile. The bay ridgeling has bankrolled $823,909 from his 26-8-9-1 line.

Bred by Viktor Timoshenko and Andriy Milovanov, Sacred Life is a half-brother to Group 2-placed Khagan. They are out of the Montjeu mare Knyazhna, from the immediate family of 2004 St Leger (G1) hero Rule of Law.

Eatontown (G3)

Annette Allen’s Stolen Holiday didn’t figure to get loose on the lead in the $152,500 Eatontown, but the complexion of the race changed once likely pacesetter Por Que No scratched. Jockey Jose Lezcano took full advantage aboard Stolen Holiday, who leveraged her early speed to a new career high.

The lesser fancied of the Shug McGaughey duo, Stolen Holiday went off at 8.20-1, compared to defending champ Vigilantes Way at 5.90-1. But both proved overlays as bettors piled onto 8-5 favorite Fluffy Socks and the 2.20-1 Princess Grace.

Stolen Holiday broke on top and waltzed through splits of :25.51, :50.61, and 1:14.22. The royally-bred daughter of War Front then sprinted home to finish 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.30.

Vigilantes Way, who tracked in third early, also quickened in pursuit, but had to settle for second a length back. The McGaughey exacta were comfortably clear of the rest. Lemista persevered up the rail to snatch third from Fluffy Socks, her wide-rallying Brown stablemate.

Next came Alms, the stalking Whimsical Muse, and a disappointing Princess Grace in her worst-ever performance. Princess Grace fought Mike Smith (subbing for the flight-bedeviled Florent Geroux) in the initial stages and folded tamely.

Stolen Holiday paid $18.40 while advancing her scorecard to 10-4-2-1, $228,990. The five-year-old was runner-up in the April 2 Sand Springs in her first stakes try, but only sixth last time out in the May 14 Beaugay (G3). She employed stalking tactics in both, unlike her front-running allowance coup back on Feb. 23 at Tampa Bay Downs.

Bred by Orpendale and sold for $750,000 as a Keeneland September yearling, Stolen Holiday is now the third graded winner produced by Group 2 vixen Silk and Scarlet. The Sadler’s Wells mare is also responsible for Group 1-winning globetrotter Master of Hounds, Japanese Grade 1 hero Eishin Apollon, and Grade 1 victress Minorette.