Tune Me In Takes Grade 3 Cliff Hanger, Lopez Sweeps Stakes

Cliff Hanger StakesOceanport, N.J. – Patricia Generazio’s Tune Me In gave jockey Paco Lopez a stakes sweep at Monmouth Park on Saturday, capturing the Grade 3 $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes as Say a Novena battled back on the inside to capture the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes before a crowd 11,120.

Tune Me In battled with Get Serious through six furlongs in 1:10 3/5 before asserting himself at the quarter pole and holding off the late charge of Salto. Winning his second Monmouth graded stakes in a row, Tune Me In paid $15.40, $5.20 and $2.20 and topped the $53.40 exacta. He covered the flat mile on firm turf in 1:33.96. Salto, who finished a length behind the winner, returned $3.40 and $2.20 as the 6-5 favorite in the field of five colts and geldings. It was another head back to Get Serious, who paid $2.40 to show.

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“When you don’t expect it, it’s especially nice to win,” said winning trainer Bruce Alexander. “In mid-stretch, you think you’re vulnerable and they’re going to close in, but in the last 50 yards he was actually getting a little space in between him and the contenders. Even though he was a nice, useful horse, he’s moved up to another level now.”

Tune Me In, a 5-year-old gelding by Concorde’s Tune from the Court Trial mare Pleasant Courtney, has won five of his 21 starts, earning $349,845 for his connections.

In the Miss Woodford Stakes, the Eddie Plesa Jr. trained Say a Novena covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10.04 and paid $22.80, $8.40 and $4.20. Singlet, who was a half-length back in second, completed the $84.20 exacta and returned $3.60 and $2.60. It was another length and three-quarters back to Klondike Kate, the favorite in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies, who paid $2.80 to show.

“They told me to just go out there and see what she wants to do,” said Lopez. “She broke well and we were on top quickly. That other horse (Singlet) went by us, but I still had horse and she fought back gamely on the rail.”

Say a Novena, who competed in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, scored her first victory of the season by taking the Miss Woodford. The Rick Shanley color bearer now sports a record of 4-4-0 from 13 starts, good for earnings of $318,350.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, Sept. 2 for day two of the BBQ and Beer Festival. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post set for 12:45 p.m. In addition to the Sunday program, Monmouth will host a live Labor Day card on Monday, Sept. 3.