February 27, 2024

Shotgun Hottie springs Molly Pitcher upset; Proxy too classy in Monmouth Cup

Shotgun Hottie topples Search Results in the Molly Pitcher (Photo by Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Shotgun Hottie hit a new peak on Saturday when toppling odds-on favorite Search Results and five others in the $500,000 Molly Pitcher (G3) at Monmouth Park.

Sent away the 8-1 fourth choice in the 1 1/16-mile fixture for fillies and mares, Shotgun Hottie was bumped at the start and raced four wide throughout, but was not ultimately deterred. The four-year-old Gun Runner filly hooked Search Results at the furlong pole and edged away to a half-length score under Paco Lopez.

Le Da Vida was along late to finish second, three parts of a length ahead of Search Results, the 9-10 choice who fell short in her bid to become only the third horse ever to win the Molly Pitcher twice. The order of finish was rounded out by Loved, Distinctlypossible, Misty Veil, and First to Act.

Owned by Omar Aldabbagh and Jeff Ganje, Shotgun Hottie completed the course in 1:43.43 over a fast track and paid $18.40.

Shotgun Hottie has now won three of five starts since joining Cherie DeVaux stable. An allowance winner at Oaklawn in March, Shotgun Hottie subsequently finished fifth in the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland and third in the Serena’s Song S. at Monmouth. However, she’s now won two stakes in a row at the Jersey Shore, preceding this triumph with a 5 1/2-length romp in the Lady’s Secret S. on June 10.

Previously trained by Bill Morey, Shotgun Hottie captured the Ruthless S. at Aqueduct at three and later placed in the Busher S., Gazelle (G3), Delaware Oaks (G3), and Monmouth Oaks (G3).

Shotgun Hottie has now won five of 15 starts and has earned $770,607. Bred in Kentucky by Vincent Colbert and a $45,000 OBS juvenile purchase, she was produced by Re Entry, a Malibu Moon half-sister to Grade 1 winner Sky Diva. This female line traces back to 1977 champion sprinter What a Summer.

Proxy repelled all challengers in the Monmouth Cup (Photo by Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)

Earlier in the card, Proxy turned back multiple challenges in the stretch to win the $400,000 Monmouth Cup (G3) by 2 1/2 lengths as an overwhelming 2-5 favorite.

Usually a stalking type, Proxy was instead hustled to the lead by Joel Rosario in the nine-furlong Monmouth Cup. Holding about a length advantage to the far turn, Proxy came under pressure from Calibrate, with Whelan Springs joining that pair at the quarter pole.

Digging in gamely inside his two rivals in the final furlong, Proxy pulled away late to win over Whelan Springs, with Calibrate dropping another 4 3/4 lengths back in third. A homebred racing for Godolphin, Proxy paid $2.80 after completing the course on 1:49.99.

“He really showed some guts,” winning trainer Mike Stidham said. “He’s never been on the lead in his life. He’s laid close early on in his career so we knew he could be close and still finish. But he was never on the lead so I didn’t know what to think. I was hoping for the best, and then when they hooked him at the three-sixteenths pole, I thought, ‘Oh Boy. here we go.’ Then he dug in and class came through in the end.”

The Monmouth Cup was a welcome form reversal for Proxy, who was last seen finishing last of eight in the July 1 Stephen Foster (G1) at Ellis Park. He had preceded that effort with a head victory in the Oaklawn H. (G2), which followed a photo-finish loss in the Santa Anita H. (G1). Proxy earned his signature victory last November in the Clark (G1) at Churchill Downs.

“That was very gratifying because his last race, with Ellis being speed favoring and getting shuffled back around the first turn he had no chance,” Stidham said. “We just felt like we’re not going to sit around and wait 60 days and plan to hopefully run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). He had already had one of those. He ran big today.”

Proxy surpassed the $2 million mark in career earnings with this victory, his sixth in 18 career starts. The five-year-old Kentucky-bred is by Tapit and out of of the multiple Grade 1-winning Panty Raid, by Include. Panty Raid has also reared the Grade 2 turf heroine Micheline.