Class gets Stanford to Long Branch wire first

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Jen Caldwell

July 11th, 2015

Stanford looked done heading into the turn of Saturday’s Long Branch S. at Monmouth Park. In fact, the bay colt appeared ready to fall back out of the money as Souper Colossal kept powering through the turn.

As Souper Colossal set the pace, Stanford and Total Joint bided their time running just behind the bay colt. Total Joint began moving nearing the turn, but jockey Joe Bravo was visibly getting busy on Stanford with nothing much happening.

“He is a really classy horse,” Bravo said after the race. “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.”

Not from what I was watching.

Total Joint moved up into second rounding the turn, but Souper Colossal looked ready for a return to the winner’s circle.

Stanford was still spinning his wheels when, suddenly, he kicked into gear. The Kentucky-bred flew down the center of the track and easily passed Souper Colossal to get the 1 1/4-length victory.

The 1 1/16-mile contest is the traditional local prep for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1), and Stanford could show up in that one against Triple Crown hero American Pharoah.

However, the Todd Pletcher is going to need to run better than he did on Saturday.

“If he comes back for the Haskell, the good thing is that we know he likes the course,” Bravo added.

That much is true, but the horses lining up for the Haskell won’t be as easy to reel in as Souper Colossal. Stanford is a nice runner, and finally got a well-deserved first stakes win in this spot, but looks up against it based on this effort.

Stanford photos courtesy of Bill and Ryan Denver/Equi-Photo