OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) -- Hopeful Growth took the lead in the stretch and drew off to a four-length victory in the $200,000 Monmouth Oaks at Monmouth Park on Saturday.
Ridden by Antonio Gallardo and trained by Anthony Margotta, Jr., Hopeful Growth covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:45.63 for her first stakes victory.
Owned by St. Elias Stable, Hopeful Growth paid $25.60, $12 and $7. The filly has won three times win five career starts.
Delaware Oaks winner Project Whiskey held for second, 2\\ lengths ahead of Eve of War.
Project Whiskey returned $7.60 and $4.20, while Eve of War was $7 to show.
''Her last race was the first time she ran around two turns,'' Margotta said. ''We were hoping to hit the board there, but typically a horse going two turns for the first time in our program may need a race around two turns the first time. This was our bull's eye target.''
Gallardo kept Hopeful Growth along the rail as favored Lucrezia and Project Whiskey battled for the lead. She found clearance in mid-stretch and proved to be much the best in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies.