Peace Sign Stable’s Virginia-bred Hard Enough sat just behind pacesetter Shining Copper before moving past that rival turning for home and opening up to a length and a half win in the $60,000 Jersey Derby at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

The colt by Hard Spun from the Mr. Greeley mare Grecian Wings was bred in the Commonwealth by R. Larry Johnson.  Johnson lost Hard Enough in a $50,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park when, according to Johnson, he “made a mistake” and  ran the now stakes winner on the dirt when a grass race didn’t fill.  Johnson thought the three-year-old might “be good on the grass” and he proved Saturday grabbing his first stakes win and upping his career payroll to $104,040.

Grecian Wings has a colt by Unbridled Song at her side for her breeder and is back in foal to VA-bred Bodemeister.

Ridden by Paco Lopez, Hard Enough went the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:41 flat and returned $26.60, $9.60 and $5.40.  Reporting Star closed to complete the $133 exacta and paid $5.20 and $3.20.  It was another half-length back to Shining Copper, who paid $2.60 as the favorite in the field of nine 3-year-old colts and geldings.

“I’m so happy to get this win for the owners,” said winning trainer Bobby Dibona.  “I know this is the best horse we have in our barn.  It’s been a while since we’ve had a horse of his caliber.  He needed to get back in his division, with 3-year-olds.  He needed some time to mature and just looked great today.”


The Jersey Derby, which dates back to 1864, is the oldest Derby contested in North America and was the crown jewel of the rebuilt Garden State Park in the 1980’s.

It height of modern fame came  when 1985 Kentucky Derby winner Spend A Buck skipped the Preakness and Belmont to ultimately win a $2 million bonus offered to the horse that could win the Cherry Hill MIle, the Garden State Stakes both in April, the Derby in May and the Jersey Derby finale on Memorial Day weekend.

To see the Equibase Chart, click here.

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