Prudhoe Bay wins the G3 Jersey Shore

Prudhoe Bay earned a hard-fought victory on Saturday in the Grade 3, $101,000 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters at Monmouth Park.

Switching back to the main track after a pair of turf efforts, Prudhoe Bay broke from the rail and engaged Debt Ceiling in a speed duel as they threw down fractions of 22.23 and 44.60.

The inside post dictated the strategy for jockey Paco Lopez, the runaway leader at the meet. “I wanted to be sitting third or fourth but being inside I couldn’t take back because I wouldn’t be able to get outside of all the horses up close,” Lopez said.

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While those two battled for the lead, Favorite Tale, the 6-5 favorite, sat an ideal stalking trip in third. Prudhoe Bay cut the corner sharply and scooted away from Debt Ceiling as Favorite Tale pounced.

But Prudhoe Bay had plenty left with Lopez urging him on. He beat Favorite Tale by three-quarters of a length, paying $12.40 to win for the fourth victory in nine starts by the Rustlewood Farms homebred son of Songandaprayer.

The time was 1:09.08 for the six furlongs on the fast track.

It was Prudhoe Bay’s third stakes win to go along with the OBS Sprint in Ocala, Fla. and the Sophomore at Tampa Bay Downs.

It was also the meet-leading fourth stakes triumph for trainer Eddie Plesa, Jr. “I thought he ran fantastic,” Plesa said. “It doesn’t surprise me. He’d been training really, really well. Post position concerned me, but Paco handled it well.

“The horse has shown some flashes in the past. It seems like the light has come on recently and he showed it today.”

Plesa said the next race will likely be the Grade 3, $300,000 Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing on Glacken Too was third followed by Griff, Wonderfella, and Debt Ceiling.