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Jul 10, 2015

Stanford tries to shake seconditis in Long Branch Stakes


Oceanport, NJ ( - Second-place finishes have become all too common for trainer Todd Pletcher's Stanford, but the 3-year-old colt is the 7-5 morning line favorite for Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Coming into Saturday after crossing the wire second three straight times, Stanford will start the 1 1/16-mile prep for the Haskell from post 3 in the seven-horse field of 3-year-olds with local jockey Joe Bravo reunited with the colt. Bravo was aboard for the first two starts of Stanford's career.

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, was on the road to the Kentucky Derby this spring and was, in fact, entered in the Run for the Roses. However, he was scratched from the 1 1/4-mile classic two days before the race.

"We entered the horse in the race to see what sort of post he might draw," Pletcher said. "We were on the fence as to whether or not to run him, but we thought we'd take a look. But after seeing the draw and talking to the owners, we decided it might be best to take him out and consider other options.

After winning his initial race of the year, Stanford finished second as the 13-10 favorite to stablemate Materiality in Gulfstream Park's Islamorada Stakes. However, Stanford was disqualified for interference and placed sixth.

Stanford then got second in the Louisiana Derby behind International Star, who was also scratched from the Kentucky Derby. He came back on the Belmont Stakes card with a second to Japan in the Easy Goer Stakes.

With two wins and two seconds, Stanford has banked $229,400 in six lifetime starts.

Here is the field for the Long Branch from the rail out: Battle Midway, Orlando Bocachica, 30-1; Total Joint, Gabriel Saez, 20-1; Stanford, Joe Bravo, 7-5; Fortuitous Path, Abel Castellano Jr., 5-1; Gorgeous Bird, Angel Serpa, 9-2; Souper Colossal, Paco Lopez, 8-5 and Iamahandsome Man, Daniel Centeno, 15-1.

Post time for the Long Branch will be approximately 5:43 p.m. ET.

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