Highestdistinction Takes Oceanport; Eamonn Wins Select As Prelude To Orseno’s Milestone 2,000th Win
Lindsay Schultz didn’t have to wait nearly as long for her second stakes victory as she did her first.
One month after the 35-year-old Schultz notched her first stakes win as a trainer she added a second one when Highestdistinction came from off the pace to score a 1½-length victory in Sunday’s $108,000 Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park.
This one happened almost out of necessity, too.
“He worked phenomenal last week and we nominated him because we were having trouble finding a spot for him,” said Schultz, whose first career stakes win came with Alex Joon on July 15 in the Edward P. Evans Stakes at Colonial Downs. “Rather than wait around we thought we’d put him in this spot, especially after he worked so well last week. He beat a nice group of horses today.”
Earlier on the card, trainer Joe Orseno notched career win No. 1,999 when Eamonn rallied under Paco Lopez for a half-length victory over Yes and Yes in the $102,000 Select Stakes at 5½ furlongs on the grass. Orseno then reached the 2,000-win milestone when Lord Eddard Stark won the ninth race at Gulfstream Park later in the day.
Eamonn’s winning time was 1:02.96.
The 5-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile managed to overcome being steadied during the turn to record his seventh win in 21 turf starts for owner Robert Cotran. He paid $13 to win.
“It’s a big accomplishment for me, my barn and my staff,” Orseno said of his milestone victory. “It shows all the hard work that everyone has put in has paid off. We’ve been grinding for years so it’s nice to add this to the list of achievements.”
Highestdistinction, meanwhile, was kept within early striking range of front-running race favorite Big Everest by jockey Jairo Rendon before sweeping three wide coming out of the turn in the mile and a sixteenth grass feature for 3-year-olds and up. Highestdistinction assumed command in midstretch, easily holding off the late charge of There Are No Words, who was another 1½ lengths ahead of He’spuregold in third.
The winning time over a firm grass course was 1:43.05.
Schultz, a graduate of the University Louisville’s Equine Industry Program, took over training of Highestdistincton three races ago. He was second to Cat Nip in a turf race at Monmouth Park on May 27, then won a $50,000 allowance at Delaware Park on July 14.
The gelded son of Point of Entry, owned by Willow Lane Stable, became a first-time stakes winner at the age of 6. He was 0-for-6 last year.
“He seems like he is improving with age, though he showed a lot of promise as a 3-year-old,” said Schultz, who has 25 horses at Monmouth Park. She started training on her own full-time in January of 2022. “Since his break he has done really well.”
Highestdistinction returned $23.20 to win.
“The other time I rode him two races ago he was a good second to Cat Nip, who I think is a very good horse,” said Rendon. “That horse beat us that day but I got my horse in trouble on the turn. But my horse still ran good. That’s why I liked him a lot today. He ran big again for me. I knew the favorite (Big Everest) is a speed horse and you get worried sometimes that they will get away on the lead. I didn’t want to be too far from him when I made my move.
“The horse helped me a lot because he was ready to go when I asked him. I tried to keep my position because I thought going in that Big Everest was the best horse in the race. I didn’t want to be too far away from him.”