Phat Man wins the Fred W. Hooper for coach Kent Sweezey
To beat a horse like the Class 1 Multiple Codes of Honor at the Philip H. Iselin Class 3 Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday, trainer Kent Sweezey knows he needs every advantage he can get. This is where the home advantage for Phat Man comes in.
Code of Honor, the 2019 Kentucky Derby runner-up and the Travers Stakes winner, will arrive from Saratoga for the $ 250,000 mile and a sixteenth race that will headline a 14-race map.
Phat Man, the only other Ranked Stakes winner in the seven-horse field, only has to arrive from Sweezey’s barn in the back stretch of Monmouth Park.
“I feel like he has a real advantage when he comes out of his own stable,” said Sweezey. “He was a tricky horse. We had minor problems with shipping last year. The ability to run out of your own stall makes a huge difference.
“When we went to Belmont (June 4th) we sent four days earlier. When we drove to Churchill Downs (May 1st) we came on the morning of the race. We had to be very careful what we do with his shipment because he is a bit worried. So he’s tricky. So to be at home in this race is huge for him. “
Two other factors could be Phat Man’s advantage. One of them is Code of Honor’s seven-month layoff, which saw Shug McGaughey’s trainee idle since finishing fifth in the Pegasus Class 1 World Cup on Jan. 23 in Gulfstream.
Phat Man, meanwhile, is celebrating a win that Sweezey said was “one of the best races he has ever driven for us”.
Phat Man, now 7, won the Battery Park Stakes in Delaware Park on July 10th in preparation for the Iselin.
“I wanted to see this and I had to see this,” said Sweezey, who is enjoying a solid Monmouth Park meeting with 11 wins out of 40 starters. “I spoke to (jockey) Florent Geroux right after he got off his horse and he said, ‘Man, your big horse ran great.’ I asked him how much he would have to ask if he really had to get to the bottom of it, and he said ‘not even close’.
“That gives me courage.”
Phat Man, owned by Marianne Stribling, Force Five Racing LLC and Two Rivers Racing Stable LLC, will always hold a special place at Sweezey as he won his first ranked stakes win of his career in the Fred W. Hooper Grade 3 stakes . Gulfstream procured on January 25, 2020. That was just six months after the group of owners bought Munnings’ son on July 8, 2019 at the Fasig-Tipton July Selected Horses of Racing Sale for $ 65,000.
Overall, Phat Man is showing a 9-8-2 line with career earnings of $ 621,609 from his 35 starts.
“He’s a really smart horse and takes care of himself,” said Sweezey. “He knows when it’s time and he also knows when to lollygag in the morning. He’s an old school horse that tells you what to do. “
Believing the Iselin has enough speed to prepare for Phat Man’s late run, Sweezey says, “He’s a horse that needs to get into a rhythm.”
“He’s a huge horse,” said Sweezey. “I would say he’s one of the biggest horses on the home stretch in terms of weight and size, so it’s a freight train. You can’t stop and start such a big horse. He’s not a Ferrari. It has to be kept in a rhythm. That happened in Delaware.
“Obviously Shug’s horse is the one to beat. But on Phat Man’s best day and at this distance, I think we have a real chance. “
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