Jockey Paco Lopez has been on fire at Monmouth Park, breaking records and picking up stakes wins. Funny thing is, the records he's breaking are his own! Last week he matched the record he set twice in 2014 by winning seven of the fourteen races on the card on August 28th. This weekend, he picked up two more stakes wins. He rode VALUE PROPOSITION to victory in the $150,000 Red Bank Stakes and DOUBLE THUNDER took the $200,000 Sapling.
The most impressive of the two victories as DOUBLE THUNDER overcame a rough trip on his first two turn start. The two-year-old colt had traffic issues with tight quarters and being pinned until late in the one mile race for juvenile colts. He rallied late, taking the victory by just half a length over AMERICAN SANCTUARY.
Off the pace, he worked his way between rivals entering the far turn and was able to catch AMERICAN SANCTUARY with a strong finish. When jockey Sophie Doyle asked AMERICAN SANCTUARY to go, it left room for the boxed in DOUBLE THUNDER to get rolling. The colt is a Todd Pletcher trainee and returned $4.20 to win as the favorite. The final time was 1:38.76.
The colt broke his maiden at Monmouth Park in his first try on June 5th. He then rallied strongly to win the Bashford Manor (G3) at Churchill Downs in late June before finishing fifth in the Saratoga Special (G2) on August 14th.
"It was a tough trip for sure," said Lopez, "They didn't make it easy for him. The horse broke well today. I was surprised he broke that well - maybe because he was on the rail. I don't know. I didn't want him that close early so I tried to get him to settle but it was a very rough trip. For a while we had nowhere to go. (AMERICAN SANCTUARY) had me pinned in. Finally, he made his move at the eighth pole and I was able to get some room to get my horse running. I think (AMERICAN SANCTUARY) moved a little too early, which was good for me. I had nowhere to go for a while. I was waiting on that horse and he finally went and that helped me."
DOUBLE THUNDER is a son of SUPER SAVER out of RATTATAPTAP by TAPIT. This is third victory in four starts.