Stage Left Emerges Victorious in $100K Rumson

OCEANPORT, N.J.— Trainer David Jacobson said it only took a couple of “tweaks” to get Stage Left to the point he is now, eight starts after coming into the veteran conditioner’s care.

The 7-year-old gelding emerged from a speed-filled opening quarter and survived everything his five rivals threw at him before going on to a one-length victory in Sunday’s $100,000 Rumson Stakes at Monmouth Park.

The winning time for the five furlongs was :57.81.

The victory was the second stakes win and third win overall since the Kentucky-bred son of Congrats was transferred to Jacobson’s barn.

“I got him from a very capable horseman (Mertkan Kantarmaci) over the winter,” said Jacobson. “He’s just a very sound, very good horse, and when I got him he was in very good condition. I just tweaked a few things – not much – and I got him running good. We’re finding the right spots for him.”

Ridden by Paco Lopez, Stage Left was involved in the early speed battle with Little Vic, Twisted Ride and Feast through an opening quarter of :22.17. By the three-eighths, Lopez shot the rail and Stage Left, the 8-5 favorite, started to draw away. Spun and Won rallied from the back to get second, 1¼ lengths ahead of Twisted Ride.


“It’s five furlongs. You don’t want to be too far behind in case they go 23 (seconds) or slower for the first quarter,” said Lopez, the runaway leader in the jockey standings as he looks to collect his 10th Monmouth Park riding title. “He got out nicely and rated nicely. At five furlongs you’re going to get pressure. You worry if it’s 21 seconds and you’re under pressure. But this was 22 seconds and change so I could do what I had to do with him. I didn’t want to wait too long. He told me when he wanted to go and he did it very easily.”

The victory was the 11th in 38 career starts for Stage Left, pushing his career earnings to $612,483.

“Today was a little different change of pace for him going five-eighths. He’s not used to that or the pressure he took today,” said Jacobson. “The instructions were just to get him out. It looked like everyone was feeling everyone else out in this race. The only one who had a plan was Paco Lopez. He’s amazing.

“I think the Vosburgh Stakes (Sept. 30 in New York) is what we will point him to next. The horse will tell me by the way he acts and how he comes out this race.”

Racing resumes at Monmouth Park on Monday, Labor Day, before the meet comes to a close next weekend, with live racing next Saturday and Sunday.