It’s safe to say trainer Chad Brown enjoyed a banner Saturday afternoon at Monmouth Park. Horses hailing from the Brown barn won four of the day’s five graded stakes, with victories from Highly Motivated in the Monmouth Cup S. (G3) and Search Results in the Molly Pitcher S. (G3) ranking among the most impressive.
Monmouth Cup (G3)
For Highly Motivated, the Monmouth Cup represented a breakthrough triumph. The four-year-old son of Into Mischief competed in the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) and placed in both the Blue Grass S. (G2) and Gotham S. (G3) last year, but a victory at the graded level had proven elusive.
Highly Motivated decisively changed the storyline in the Monmouth Cup. Favored at 4-5 under hot jockey Flavien Prat, Highly Motivated rated off the pace as longshot Antigravity carved out fractions of :23.63, :47.47, and 1:10.34. But then Highly Motivated unleashed an outside rally to run down his pace-pressing stablemate Pipeline and score by 1 3/4 lengths.
The final time for 1 1/8 miles was 1:46.53, which stood as a track record until Cyberknife clocked 1:46.24 to win the Haskell S. (G1) later in the afternoon. Pipeline finished clearly second-best, followed by Informative, Antigravity, Rough Sea, King of Dreams and Top Gun Tommy.
Molly Pitcher (G3)
As impressive as Highly Motivated may have been, Search Results was even more eye-catching in the 1 1/16-mile Molly Pitcher. Favored at 3-5 while exiting a game third-place finish in the Ogden Phipps S. (G1) at Belmont Park, the 2021 Acorn S. (G1) winner was always prominent in the Molly Pitcher, tracking splits of :24.06 and :47.37 before advancing into the teeth of six furlongs in 1:10.31.
From there, the race was over. Search Results put away pacesetters Beth’s Dream and Pennybaker before pulling clear through sharp closing fractions to win by three lengths. The four-year-old daughter of Flatter stopped the timer in 1:40.47, just 0.28 off the track record.
Longshot Leader of the Band closed from midfield to finish second over Army Wife, followed by Bonny South, Shalimar Gardens, Pennybaker, and Beth’s Dream.
Both Highly Motivated and Search Results race in the colors of Klaravich Stables. Their impressive victories at Monmouth suggest Grade 1 targets in late summer and fall could be viable goals, with the Breeders’ Cup looming on the long-term horizon.