Everyone gets it wrong now and again, trainers, jockeys, owners, bettors, pundits. It’s just a fact of life. Turns out that most people got Saturday’s $250,000 Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks; for three-year-old fillies over a mile and one-sixteenth on Monmouth’s main track, wrong, but Leader Of The Band got it right.

Trainer John Servis thought that Midnight Obsession was the better of his two contenders; and so did bettors, making that filly; third choice in the market and leaving Leader Of The Band to languish at double-figure odds. Form students saw that Midnight Obsession had beaten Leader Of The Band comfortably in the Delaware Oaks last time out, and summed up their prospects accordingly. Everyone got it wrong, except Leader Of The Band.

Leader Of The Band doesn’t seem to do anything very quickly

But she gets it done. The daughter of Bandbox was not too fast away and raced in the pack until making a forward move on the far turn; but as they swung for home the front-running 6-5 favourite Edie Meeny Miny Mo held a clear advantage and looked to be on her way home.

The effects of those early fast fractions soon began to tell on the leader; though, and Leader Of The Band came on relentlessly under Frankie Pennington to grab ‘Edie’ at the sixteenth pole and draw off for a cosy two-length win, her first stakes success.

She stopped the clock in 1:43 and two-fifths and paid off at $22.60; with stablemate Midnight Obsession beaten another length and a half into third place. Leader Of The Band has now never been off the board in seven starts; winning three, and should find a longer distance within her compass. “She just keeps coming,” said Servis.

“(She’s) getting better and she’s maturing. Starting to understand the racing game and I think she’ll get better.”; Pennington was pretty happy with where she is now.

“Such a nice horse,” he said. “She just keeps chugging along and gets the job done, every time I nudged her she was giving me something. The last time she ran in the Delaware Oaks she didn’t get off great. Today she made a great run late.”

Edie Meeny Miny Mo emerged from defeat with great credit.

The Oaks was just her third lifetime start and her first going two turns; and her exuberant style of racing did her no favours over this extended mile. She has plenty of talent, and back at a slightly shorter trip she should have no trouble making her mark in Graded company.

“She was a little impatient in the gate and broke a little awkwardly. I think that cost her the race,” said trainer Miguel Vera, who considered the mile and one-sixteenth to be within his filly’s grasp. “I think she will be okay with two turns with a clean break.”

He might be right. He may be wrong. That’s how it goes.

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