Golden Brown turns tables on Irish Strait in Dan Horn Handicap

Right out of the gate, the $75,000 Dan Horn Handicap on Sunday at Monmouth Park was a two-horse affair between Irish Strait and Golden Brown.

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There were five New Jersey-breds in the 1 1/16-mile turf race, but Irish Strait and Golden Brown swiftly separated themselves from the field with Irish Strait leading through an opening quarter-mile in 23.40 seconds tracked closely by Golden Brown. Jockey Paco Lopez aboard Golden Brown stuck closely with Irish Straight through a half-mile in 46.43, then let his mount settle off the pacesetter as three-quarters went in 1:09.64. Lopez began to ask Golden Brown to pick it up around the turn, and his mount responded willingly to gain ground through the stretch and eventually wear down Irish Strait for a half-length victory. It was 8 1/2 lengths back to Don’s Marsh in third.

The final time over firm turf was 1:40.95 and the winner, sent off at 4-5, returned $3.80. The finish was the inverse of last year’s Dan Horn, in which Irish Strait beat Golden Brown by a half-length.

Golden Brown, trained by Pat McBurney for ABL Stable et al., entered the Dan Horn off a victory in a second-level dirt allowance at Monmouth on May 11. The 4-year-old Offlee Wild colt now owns five wins from 14 starts and has earned $355,000.

McBurney told Monmouth publicity that the Irish War Cry Handicap on July 6 at Monmouth was a possible next target for Golden Brown.

“As it works out, our schedule 13 days from now is another Jersey-bred turf race, so if he bounces out of this good I think we’d be looking at that,” said McBurney. “We’ll stay with Jersey-breds for now with him.”