“ITSONLYACTINGDAD” WINS G3 MATCHMAKER
After winning the Grade 1 Alfred Vanderbilt Handicap with A. P. Indian on Saturday at Saratoga, jockey Joe Bravo came back to Monmouth Park, where he picked up three more graded stakes victories Sunday.
The last of Bravo’s stakes triple came when he guided 5-2 favorite Itsonlyactingdad to a daylight victory in the Grade 3, $110,000 Matchmaker Stakes for fillies and mares on turf.
Earlier on the card, Bravo won the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on heavily favored Bradester and the Grade 3 Oceanport on 5-2 public choice Blacktype. He barely missed a four-win stakes day when Eskenformoney finished a neck short of Genre in the Grade 3 Molly Pitcher.
“After my day at Saratoga yesterday being able to come down here with the mounts I had is just living a dream,” Bravo said. “ It’s fun to deal with good horses and with these horses any jock in the jocks’ room could have sat on any one of these horses and won the race. It’s just nice that it was me.”
Means Well, a 33-1 outsider led throughout the first mile of the 1 1/8-mile grass race, contested over yielding ground, setting fractions of 48.38 seconds, 1:14.38, and 1:39.87. The 4-year-old Itsonlyactingdad, seventh after the first six furlongs, was closing strongly on the outside through the stretch. She got within a length of the lead with a furlong remaining and finished 1 1/4 lengths clear of runner-up Tammy the Torpedo. It was another 3 ¾ lengths back to Uchenna, who nosed out Bureau de Change for third.
The winning time was 1:52.27.
It was the first career stakes victory for Itsonlyactingdad, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway trained by Todd Pletcher for Starlight Racing. Her best previous finish in a stakes came when she was second in last year’s Belmont Oaks.
“What makes this filly special is that she did it with so much ease,” said Bravo, who was aboard Itsonlyactingdad for the first time. “Every time I pointed her at something she listened perfectly.”
Itsonlyactingdad is now 4 for 9 with earnings of $371,350.