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Jul 17, 2015

Stanford orchestrates victory in Long Branch Stakes


Oceanport, NJ ( - Odds-on favorite Stanford shook loose at the top of stretch to go on and capture Saturday's $100,000 Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Stanford, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Joe Bravo, was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the local prep for the $1 million Haskell Invitational.

The favorite settled into second behind pacesetter and 3-1 second pick Souper Colossal in the 1 1/16-mile stakes with seven 3-year-olds. Stanford, going for his first win since February, moved wide around the final turn and surged to the lead coming into the stretch.

Stanford held off Souper Colossal down the stretch to post a 1 1/4-length win.

"He is a really classy horse," said the winning jockey. "They were going an honest pace up front. I asked him to go a little bit before the quarter pole to just get him going and he answered really nicely. If he comes back for the Haskell, the good thing is that we know he likes the course."

Finishing third was Total Joint with Battle Midway fourth followed by Fortuitous Path and Gorgeous Bird. Iamahandsome Man was pulled up and vanned off.

The time for the Long Branch was 1:44.31 on a fast track.

Stanford, owned by Stonestreet Stables, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith, took home $60,000 for his first career stakes victory. The colt has earned $289,400 with three wins from seven lifetime starts.

Stanford 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.

After winning his initial race of the year on Feb. 8, 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.

Stanford returned $3.00, $2.20 and $2.10. Souper Colossal paid $3.00 and $2.60, and Total Joint paid $4.00 to show.

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