OCEANPORT, N.J. -- Racing fans on the East Coast get their first chance to see Euphony, the wonder of the Midwest and the Southwest, when she faces six rivals Sunday in the Grade 2, $300,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes for fillies and mares at Monmouth Park.
Euphony has already blazed a remarkable career, winning on every conceivable surface: dirt, slop, turf, and synthetic.
A 4-year-old trained by Donnie Von Hemel, Euphony has never been worse than third in a 12-race career that features seven stakes among her nine wins. This will be her second appearance in a graded stakes, having captured the Grade 3 Arlington Matron in May.
She has ranged far and wide. Her past itinerary includes Oaklawn Park, Lone Star Park, Louisiana Downs, Prairie Meadows, Remington Park, Arlington, and Canterbury Downs.
Now Euphony has a new world to conquer in the richest race of her career. Euphony will face a Molly Pitcher lineup that includes Spritely, third most recently in the Grade 1 Go for Wand Handicap in the slop at Saratoga, and Devil House, winner of the Lady's Secret, the Molly Pitcher prep.
"Obviously, we feel she's ready to go," Von Hemel said from Arlington. "We're coming a long ways to do it and we think she'll fit in well there."
After considering a number of options, Von Hemel settled on the Molly Pitcher at 1 1/16 miles.
"There were a number of races back there, but timing-wise, this works out for us," Von Hemel said. "This looked like the best chance for us to run for a nice purse and do well."
For one of the few times in her career, Euphony will be looking to rebound from a loss. She was beaten a nose on the turf when carried wide in the final stages of the Lady Canterbury Stakes on July 25.
"Watching live, it didn't strike me as such a problem," Von Hemel said. "After everything was official, I watched the head-on and I was thinking 'Why didn't my jock claim foul?' I don't think they would have taken the other horse down, but it was worth a look. The last sixteenth, as we were coming to the other filly and trying to get by her, they drifted out quite a ways."
The loss ended a streak of six straight stakes wins.
Euphony has the ideal style for Monmouth, where speed horses and stalkers thrive. In most of her races, Euphony is usually never more than four lengths off the pace at any point.
"She's got enough versatility that you can kind of put her where you need to be, depending on how a race sets up or a particular bias on a racetrack," Von Hemel said. "She's a smart filly that will do what you need to do."
As usual, Cliff Berry will be aboard.
Spritely drops a level following a bold try at Saratoga.
Trained by Todd Pletcher who won the 2005 Molly Pitcher with Capeside Lady, Spritely seized the lead turning for home in the Go for Wand only to see Seventh Street battle back to earn the victory.
Spritely ran once before at Monmouth, finishing third last year in the Miss Woodford Stakes at six furlongs.
Chris DeCarlo, Pletcher's first-call rider at Monmouth, will be aboard.
Bruce Levine, Monmouth's leading trainer, sends out Devil House, who is 2-1-1 in 4 races here. Chuckie Lopez has the return call.
Jessica Is Back ships up from Calder for trainer Marty Wolfson following a dominant front-running victory in the slop in the Nancy's Glitter Handicap. She earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure for her effort.
You Asked, Annabill, and Luna Vega complete the field.