Where’s Sterling powers to Iselin Stakes score

by Ron Parker

Frank Calabrese’s Where’s Sterling charged three wide from off the pace under jockey Paco Lopez to post his first stakes victory in the $252,500 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

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Ponzi Scheme, tracked by Southern Ridge, set the pace for the first six furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Iselin as Where’s Sterling settled alternately in fourth and fifth position. On the turn, Southern Ridge collared Ponzi Scheme to gain the advantage in early stretch but was unable to hold off the late charge of Where’s Sterling, who powered past for a one-length victory in 1:48.57 on a track rated as fast.

“I just tried to keep him relaxed early on,” Lopez said. “At the three-eighths [pole], I had him in the middle and he was able to get past that horse [Southern Ridge] late.”

Trained by Nick Canani, Where’s Sterling made his Monmouth debut in the Iselin after finishing fourth in the Memorial Day Handicap at Calder Race Course on May 30, his most recent start and his stakes debut.

“We got up here a couple of months ago, and he got a little sick,” Canani said. “So it took a little longer than expected to get him back to the races, but he raced great.”

Out of the Benny the Dip mare Twinkler, Where’s Sterling posted his third win from eight starts. The four-year-old Northern Afleet colt has bankrolled $224,110 in two seasons.

Ron Parker is a Thoroughbred Times contributing writer