“Ribo Bobo” wins the Decathlon @ Monmouth Park

Ribo Bobo was the determined winner of the $79,000 Decathlon Stakes, the opening day feature on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Paco Lopez guides Ribo Bobo to his 10th win in his last 12 starts in the opening day feature, the Decathlon StakesIt was yet another victory for the 6-year-old Ribo Bobo, claimed by trainer Jason Servis for a modest $6,250. He is 10 for 12 since the final barn change.

Servis and the Mr Amore Stable took Ribo Bobo out of a winning effort for $8,000 early in 2013 at Gulfstream Park. They ran him and won for $6,250, but lost the horse on a claim.

When the new connections wheeled the horse back for the same price, Servis stepped in again. And Ribo Bobo hasn’t seen a claiming tag since.

“The second time we went back in for him, it was a six-way shake,” Servis said. “We got lucky to get him back. I may never get another horse like this.”

Servis said the next target might be the Summit of Speed at Calder on July 5.

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As usual, Ribo Bobo flashed good early speed. Breaking from the outside in the eight-horse field, Ribo Bobo was quickly joined by Joe Tess. Those two raced in tandem through vigorous fractions of 21.72 and 44.03 seconds on an overcast afternoon over a rain-softened track.

Ribo Bobo drifted wide turning for home but remained firmly in control through the lane with Paco Lopez aboard. He won by 1 1/2 lengths over a game Joe Tess.

Be Bullish got third followed by He Can Run, Partyallnightlong, Candyman E, Javerre, and Zealevo.

The time was 1:09.26 for six furlongs on the track labeled fast. Ribo Bobo paid $5 to win as the 3-2 favorite of the crowd of 10,168. Rain held off for most of the day, cutting loose two races before the feature for a half-hour downpour.

The brief shower didn’t dampen the start of the new season.

“It’s a nice opening day,” said president Bob Kulina. “It should get even better because the forecast is gorgeous for Mother’s Day. We’re hoping for a very solid opening weekend.”

Opening day was a blend of the old and the new. Joe Bravo, the 13-time Monmouth riding champion now based in New York, returned to boot home three winners, including a sweep of the early double.

David Jacobson, stabled at Monmouth for the first time, made his presence felt immediately. He claimed Solemnly Swear, the second race winner, for $50,000 and got his first win of the meet with Go Appeal in the ninth.

“He runs a lot of horses, claims a lot of horses,” Kulina said of Jacobson. “I think that just strengthens the product. There are some other new names, when they settle in, will create some better wagering events for us this season.”

The two scheduled turf races were rained off onto the main track.