Howgreatisnate Wins Long Branch, Eyes Start in Haskell

John Guarnere always had high expectations for Howgreatisnate , even though the gelding had never won going two turns.

“I thought he was a Kentucky Derby horse,” said Guarnere, whose horses race under the Nom de Course of Imaginary Stables.

Howgreatisnate, b, 3/g
Speightster — Bee Dees Bid, by Tapit
Owner: Imaginary Stables
Breeder: B. D. Gibbs Farm, LLC (KY)
Trainer: Elizabeth L. Dobles
Jockey: Jairo Rendon
Information provided by Equibase at time of entry.
Pedigree Notes
Speightster stood at Northern Dawn Stables Inc. for $6,500 (2022).
Sale History
KEESEP2021 • $67,000 • Consignor: Greenfield Farm • Buyer: John Guarnere.

Howgreatisnate won’t make any of the Triple Crown races but he could be bound for the Haskell Stakes (G1) at Monmouth Park after surging to a stirring victory by a head in the May 13, $100,000 Long Branch Stakes on opening day at the Jersey Shore track.

Shipped from trainer Elizabeth Dobles’ base in Palm Meadows, Fla., Howgreatisnate overcame a wide trip and then nudged clear under jockey Jairo Rendon’s urging to get by Offaly Cool  in deep stretch. It was another three lengths back to Ninetyprcentmaddie  in third.

“I always believed the horse could go a distance,” said Dobles, who gallops many of her horses. “I loved his short races. He was phenomenal going short. I think he can be a better horse going longer. The only concern was I didn’t want him to get checked. I watched his last race (the Private Terms at Laurel Park) and he got checked a few times. Once he gets checked he loses his interest.”

Howgreatisnate, a Kentucky-bred son of Speightster , was making his first start for Dobles after being shifted from the barn of Andrew Simoff two months ago. After going 4-for-4 at 2, Howgreatisnate stumbled and lost the jockey in the Gotham Stakes (G3) in his first start at 3 and then was a trouble-filled fourth in the Private Terms at Laurel March 18.

“John wanted to run the horse in a few races and they decided it would be best to send the horse to me so I could point to the races John and I agreed to,” Dobles said.

In her initial exuberance following the victory, Dobles said the horse’s next start would be in the July 22 Haskell.

“No, wait—we’re going to take him back down to Florida and let him recover from this race and then see how he is,” she said.

As a result of the victory Howgreatisnate receives free entry and start fees to the Haskell.

Sent off at 5-1 in the field of six 3-year-olds, Howgreatisnate was fifth and wide through fast opening fractions set by longshot No Confession  of :22.68 for the opening quarter mile and then 1:10.87 for six furlongs in the one mile and 70 yards race.

Howgreatisnate, Offaly Cool, and Ninetyprcentmaddie were then stacked across the track entering the final turn, with Howgreatisnate and Offaly Cool getting clear of the rest.

Offaly Cool opened a one-length lead in mid-stretch before Howgreatisnate surged on the outside.

Even-money favorite Slip Mahoney  was a non-threatening fourth.

The winning time was 1:41.21.

Dobles, who started training in 2016, owns one graded stakes win to her credit, with War Story  winning the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes (G3) in 2019. Guarnere made the trip from his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to watch the horse at Monmouth Park in person.