OCEANPORT, N.J. (AP) World Approval took command turning for home and held off Money Multiplier by 1 1/4 lengths Sunday to win the $300,000 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park.
The U.N. and the $1 million Haskell Invitational here on July 31 are the Grade 1s on the New Jersey stakes calendar.
World Approval had an ideal journey with Florent Geroux in the saddle. The gray 4-year-old gelding was a comfortable second for most of the 1 3/8 mile turf race as 75-1 long shot Cement Clement set the pace.
''I was not really worried about him,'' Geroux said of Cement Clement. ''He set the pace for me and I wanted to keep my horse as relaxed as I could.''
Class wasn't an issue for World Approval as this was his third straight Grade 1 appearance. He lost by a neck in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill Downs and ran third in the Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park.
Distance was the unknown variable. The U.N. was the longest race yet for World Approval.
''He showed today that he has the quality, and he can get the distance.'' Geroux said. ''He beat a top class field.''
Trained by Mark Casse, World Approval got his sixth win in 15 starts and took home $180,000 for Live Oak Plantation, the gelding's owner and breeder.
Chad Brown saddled three horses in the U.N., a race he captured in 2013 and 2015 with Big Blue Kitten. Money Multiplier was the best of his trio this time, and the only serious stretch threat to World Approval.
Wake Forest, the 9-5 favorite, got third to give Brown a 2-3 finish.
Mr Maybe, his other runner, was seventh.
''I thought they all got pretty good trips,'' Brown said. ''I don't have any excuses. The winner was very good today.''
World Approval paid $7.40, $3.80 and $2.80.
Money Multiplier returned $5.40 and $3.60.
Wake Forest paid $2.40 to show.
Triple Threat was fourth, followed by Can'thelpbelieving, Riviere Du Loup, Mr Maybe, Bigger Picture, Cement Clement and Noble Road.
The time was 2:14.66.