Focus Group should get first Grade I score in United Nations

The Grade I, $300,000 United Nations Stakes will bring some top turf runners together at Monmouth Park this Saturday. The 1 3/8-mile heat drew a field of eight. Post time for the United Nations, Race 11 of a scheduled 13, is approximately 5:28 p.m. ET.

#4 FOCUS GROUP (2-1, morning-line favorite) was empty late in Belmont’s Man o’ War Stakes when last seen. However, he has never shown an affinity for that course. FOCUS GROUP will make his first start at Monmouth in the United Nations. He’s demonstrated a liking for the tricky 11-furlong distance, posting a 3-2-0-0 record. FOCUS GROUP already has a stakes win under his belt in the 2019 – the Grade II Pan American at Gulfstream. The Chad Brown trainee will be ridden by Jose Ortiz on Saturday.

#1 BIGGER PICTURE (3-1), first in the 2017 United Nations and third in last year’s renewal, is back for more here. The eight-year-old son of Badge of Silver has hardly lost a step in 2019, winning the Grade III J.B. Connally and Grade II Elkhorn in just three starts. Joe Bravo, aboard for BIGGER PICTURE’s 2017 score in this event, regains the mount. He may choose to put this horse on the lead from the rail in a relatively paceless race.

#8 MONARCHS GLEN (15-1) picks up another two furlongs in the United Nations after posting belated rallies in his first two stateside starts. The son of Frankel won going as far as 10 furlongs while campaigning overseas. Bill Mott and Jose Lezcano team up with MONARCHS GLEN once more.

#6 ZULU ALPHA (4-1) is a tough call in the United Nations. He finished up the track in the Man o’ War last time out but won both the W.L. McKnight and Mac Diarmida Stakes earlier this year. However, ZULU ALPHA ran behind Mike Maker stablemate BIGGER PICTURE in the Elkhorn two starts ago. He gets a discouraging jockey switch to Channing Hill as Javier Castellano and Irad Ortiz Jr. ride elsewhere, while Jose Ortiz ended up on FOCUS GROUP.

The play: $4 exacta 4/1, $2 exacta 4/6,8, $2 exacta 1/4 ($10)

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