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Sep 15, 2008

Big Brown holds on to take Monmouth Stakes



Oceanport, NJ (Sports Network) - Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown held off a late-charging Proudinsky down the stretch to win Saturday's inaugural running of the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park. The colt was making his first start on the turf since his initial career start a year ago.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite in the nine horse field, Big Brown took the lead shortly after the start and led the field around the clubhouse turn and into the backstretch. Racing in second was Get Serious, as the top two runners opened up a sizable gap from the remainder of the field.

Big Brown, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, maintained the lead around the final turn and into the stretch as Proudinsky drew into contention. Also rallying down the stretch was Shakis, who passed the tiring Get Serious.

The favorite was able to hold off the hard-charging Proudinsky and rider Ramon Dominguez to capture the grass race by a neck. Shakis finished third, just a half-length behind Proudinsky and Silver Tree rallied to finish fourth.

Rounding out the order of finish was Fagedaboudit Sal, Hotstufanthensome, Get Serious, Nightscape and Kiss the Kid. Drum Major and Ballonenostrikes were both scratched to run in a stakes race at Philadelphia Park.

The final time for the 1 1/8 mile turf race was 1:47.41 on a course listed as good.

Trained by Rick Dutrow, Jr. for IEAH Stables and others, Big Brown garnered his second straight victory since his disastrous Belmont Stakes. The win was worth $300,000 to bring his career total to better than $3.6 million.

"Well, whenever we have breezed him in the mornings with a number of different riders, they breezed him on the grass and on the dirt, and he goes better on the grass," said Dutrow about starting Big Brown on turf. "He went good on the dirt too, but he just seems to be better on the grass."

The bay colt has a career record of seven victories in eight lifetime starts, with additional wins in the Florida Derby and Monmouth's Haskell Invitational. His next and final race will be the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic on Santa Anita's synthetic track on October 25.

Big Brown returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.20. Proudinsky paid $3.00 and $2.40, and Shakis paid $2.80 to show.

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