PHILIP H. ISELIN STAKES | PURSE: $150,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8 MILES
Upset-minded Balance of Power wore down Pants On Fire and won the $148,500 Philip H. Iselin Stakes with a smart last-to-first rally Aug. 17 at Monmouth Park.
The 4-year-old Silver Train gelding earned his first stakes win in fine style, closing willingly after angling wide into the stretch. Gaining ground with every stride in a determined run with Chuck Lopez, he got past Pants On Fire and third-place finisher Valid late for a half-length triumph at 7-1 odds.
The 4-5 favorite in the five-hose field, Valid showed the way early, but Pants on Fire spurted through a gap on the rail midway on the far turn and wrested command to lead by 1 ½ lengths in the stretch. After trailing the field for six furlongs, Balance of Power advanced on the inside nearing the quarter pole, then moved to outside and was all out for the victory.
Trainer David Jacobson, who co-owns the winner with Drawing Away Stables, said there was no pre-race strategy for Balance of Power, who entered the Iselin off two runner-up finishes including the July 7 Carl Hanford Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park in his stakes debut.
"I left it up to Chuckie [Lopez]," Jacobson said. "We had been targeting this race for a while. He beat some real nice horses today. Pants on Fire and Valid are real solid animals. I was real impressed with how he ran today."
Balance of Power was timed in 1:48.78 for 1 ⅛ miles on a fast track.
Pants On Fire, the 7-5 second choice with Paco Lopez aboard, finished second, 2 ¾ lengths in front of Valid, who weakened after laying down fractions of :23.44 seconds, :47.38 seconds, and 1:11.19 for six furlongs.
Balance of Power has won six of his 16 lifetime starts and bankrolled $233,128.
Toting 117 pounds, Balance of Power paid $17, $5.80, and $2.60, while Pants On Fire, under 116, returned $2.80 and $2.10. Valid, the 123-pound top weight, was worth $2.10 to show.
Elnaawi finished fourth and Vegas No Show was fifth to complete the order of finish.
Bern Identity, He's So Fine, and Integrity were scratched.
Balance of Power, who was bred in Kentucky by Ben P. Walden Jr. and P. W. Madden, is a half brother to 2011 Arkansas Derby winner Archarcharch. He is out of Grade 2-placed Woodman's Dancer, a daughter of Woodman who also produced another Monmouth stakes winner in 2008 Gilded Time Stakes winner Run Sully Sun.