Provocateur slips up inside to win Jersey Shore

Midway around the turn in the $108,000 Jersey Shore Stakes pacesetting Defend drifted one path from the rail. Jairo Rendon, riding Provocateur, who was racing just behind the leader, didn’t wait for an invitation. Rendon sent his willing mount into the breach and came out two-length winner on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

“That’s what you have to do when the rail opens like that,” said Rendon, who rode Provocateur and Star Seeking to victory Saturday at Monmouth for trainer Todd Pletcher. “I was ready to go outside, but when the rail opened the way it did, I had to take it.”

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Witty, who got off to a terrible start and was last by many lengths down the backstretch, rallied for second, showing how demanding the pace was in the six-furlong Jersey Shore, which is restricted to 3-year-olds. Speaking, who stalked the pace and pulled a wide trip, finished third as 5-2 favorite Lightening Larry, winner of the Chick Lang last out, pressed the pace and finished fifth.

Provocateur clocked 1:08.81 over a fast track and paid $10.80 to win. Trained by Pletcher for My Racehorse and Spendthrift Farm, Provocateur was coming out of a distant third in the Grade 1 Woody Stephens, won in a rout by Jack Christopher. Earlier this year, Provocateur had captured the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Bred in Kentucky by Kingswood Farm and David Egan, Provocateur is by Into Mischief and out of Cayala, by Cherokee Run.