July 18, 2024

Fort Washington, Running Bee furnish dead-heat in Monmouth Stakes

Fort Washington (far side) and Running Bee (middle) finished in a dead-heat in the Monmouth S. (G3) at Monmouth Park (Photo by Equi-Photo / Credit to Melissa Torres)

Trainer Chad Brown won both turf stakes on Haskell Preview Day at Monmouth Park on Saturday, but he had to share the spoils in the $157,500 Monmouth (G3). His Running Bee hit the wire in tandem with the Shug McGaughey-trained longshot Fort Washington, producing the first dead-heat victory in the 16-year history of the feature. Brown previously sent out the exacta in the $152,500 Eatontown (G3), with Tax Implications besting stablemate Maman Joon.

Monmouth (G3)

Free entries to the United Nations (G1) on the July 20 Haskell Day program were up for grabs for the top two finishers in the Monmouth. Running Bee and Fort Washington might have turned that 1 3/8-mile prize into a tiebreaker, since they were inseparable in this prep.

Calumet Farm’s Running Bee was the more logical of the pair, going off at 4.60-1 with Vincent Cheminaud. Magic Cap Stables’ Fort Washington, on the other hand, was disregarded at 35-1 with Kendrick Carmouche. Although off form of late, Fort Washington had scored his only prior stakes win here in the 2022 Tale of the Cat S., and returning to the Jersey Shore reinvigorated him.

The duo ended up rallying from similar positions, although Running Bee initially had been a bit nearer to the contested pace. Up front, Public Sector was prompted by Grand Sonata through splits of :24.08 and :48.48 on the firm course. Tawny Port launched an aggressive move between them, making it a line of three abreast passing six furlongs in 1:13.01.

As a weakening Public Sector drifted off the fence, a golden opening appeared for Siege of Boston, the 8-5 favorite. But his bid stalled, Tawny Port re-asserted, and the biggest dangers emerged on the outside.

Fort Washington was rolling into gear, flanking Running Bee, who was likewise finding his best stride. The more imposing form of Fort Washington might have partially obscured Running Bee as they overtook Tawny Port and Siege of Boston. But the photo-finish camera didn’t miss him, proving that Running Bee’s nose was exactly alongside Fort Washington’s where it counted, for his first stakes win.

Tawny Port was just a neck adrift in third, and Siege of Boston another neck away in fourth. Beatbox got up for fifth, followed by California Frolic, Brown’s 3.80-1 Adhamo, Grand Sonata, and Public Sector.

The winners clocked 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.70. Fort Washington paid $31.80, not quite the windfall his sharpie backers would have wanted, and Running Bee returned $6.20.

Fort Washington has bankrolled $367,982 from his 18-4-2-6 line. Initially campaigned by his breeders, Joseph Allen and Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm, the son of War Front placed in the 2022 Columbia S., Woodhaven S., and Tropical Park Derby in addition to his Tale of the Cat score.

After thirds in the 2023 Canadian Turf (G3) and Appleton, Fort Washington was sold for $260,000 at last summer’s Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Horses of Racing Age Sale. The dark bay regrouped back in second-level allowances, but disappointed in the Dec. 30 Ft. Lauderdale (G2), and again in his reappearance at Churchill Downs May 9. At Monmouth, though, he reached a new career high, and in the process, upstaged Siege of Boston – another Allen homebred by War Front.

Fort Washington obscured Running Bee in their Monmouth S. (G3) dead-heat at Monmouth Park (Photo by Equi-Photo / Credit to Melissa Torres)

Running Bee, also a five-year-old, has fewer starts on his ledger of 11-5-3-1, $437,078. Ironically, he too threw in a clunker in the Ft. Lauderdale, but turned the page with a close second in the Tampa Bay (G3). Favored in the Dinner Party (G3) on Preakness Day last out, the son of English Channel tired to third on soft ground at Pimlico.

Bred by English Channel co-owners and Gordon Gilliam in Kentucky, Running Bee was a $19,000 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky February yearling. The bay is out of the stakes-placed El Prado mare Our Joy.

Kentucky-bred Fort Washington was produced by the French Group 3-placed Azaelia, a Turtle Bowl mare who descends from all-time great Allez France.

Eatontown (G3)

Earlier in the Eatontown, Klaravich Stables’ Tax Implications quickened from just off a pedestrian pace to earn her first stakes victory. The 3.80-1 chance got the jump on stablemate Maman Joon, who closed furiously from last to take second. The race shape put her at a distinct disadvantage, so Maman Joon deserves credit for going close.

Tax Implications was perched on the outside in fourth as Spirit and Glory strolled through fractions of :25.74, :51.16, and 1:15.18. The stage was accordingly set for a mad dash to the finish. Sacred Wish, the 3-2 favorite, appeared to be well placed in a ground-saving third, until she had a checkered passage.

While Tax Implications navigated a wider path for Flavien Prat, she was able to build up uninterrupted momentum. The daughter of Mehmas outkicked Spirit and Glory and the stalking Ocean Club, then held the late thrust of Maman Joon.

Three-quarters of a length on top at the wire, Tax Implications negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.98. Her Eatontown breakthrough advanced her record to 9-2-4-1, $251,210, while paying her supports $9.60.

Maman Joon was the same margin up on Spirit and Glory, who saved third by a neck from the staying-on Sacred Wish. Next came Ocean Club, Embrace Me, and Tic Tic Tic Boom. No Show Sammy Jo, Thirty Thou Kelvin, and Damaso were scratched.

Tax Implications, who crushed a maiden here on debut as a juvenile, had been knocking on the door in stakes. Second next time out in the 2022 Chelsey Flower S., she was also runner-up in the 2023 Wild Applause S. and Lake George (G3). The chestnut was most recently third in the May 26 Miss Liberty S. over this course and distance.

Bred by Aoife Kent in Great Britain, Tax Implications was purchased for approximately $356,711 as a Tattersalls October yearling. Her dam, Country Madam, is a Medaglia d’Oro half-sister to Group 2-winning sprinter and promising young sire Invincible Army.

Considering that Tax Implications earned a free entry to the July 20 Matchmaker (G3), she would be a natural candidate for the 1 1/8-mile turf test on Haskell Day.