Live Oak Plantation’s Forever Souper tries to avenge a loss to Dataman in their last encounter as the two geldings face each other again in Saturday’s Cliff Hanger at Monmouth Park.

Despite finishing third, a length-and-a-half behind winner Dataman in the $99,000 Henry Clark going a mile on the turf at Laurel on April 20, Forever Souper is the 5-2 favorite on the morning line in the mile-and-a-sixteenth Cliff Hanger on grass. Dataman is the 3-1 second choice.

Forever Souper and Dataman both tracked the leaders early in the Henry Clark and made their move in tandem coming out of the far turn. While Dataman had a clear run in the stretch, Forever Souper lacked running room inside the final furlong and could only manage third.

In two previous starts before the Henry Clark, Forever Souper defeated Florida-breds in the $95,000 Sunshine Turf at Gulfstream Park on Jan 21 and the $100,000 ESMARK Turf Classic on March 24 at Tampa Bay. 

Forever Souper has won six of 14 career starts with a second and three thirds with earnings of $282,255. He is by American Pharoah out of Mighty Souper, by War Front and was bred in Florida by Live Oak Plantation.

Daniel Centeno picks up the mount for the first time and they have post seven.

The Henry Clark was the first start of the year for Dataman, who won two of five starts last year for trainer Graham Motion including the $100,000 Bald Eagle Derby going a mile-and-three-sixteenth on the turf at Laurel in August.

Owned by Werthheimer and Frere, Dataman is by Tapit out of Soldata, by Maria’s Mon and has a lifetime record of four wins with a second in 11 starts while earning $240,910.

Dataman has post five and jockey Jorge Ruiz.

Homefield advantage goes to He’spuregold and There Are No Words, who finished first and second respectively in last summer’s Irish War Cry for state-breds at a mile on the Monmouth Park turf.

Kelly Breen trains He’spuregold, a winner of five of eight career starts at Monmouth. Owned by Roseland Farm, He’spuregold makes his second start of 2024 after finishing fourth in an upper level, $62,500 optional claiming going a mile on the Gulfstream turf on April 27.

He’spuregold is 4-1 in the program and Paco Lopez will ride from post four.

There Are No Words is 6-1 on the morning line for trainer Chuck Spina and Prancing Horse Farm LLC and makes his first start of the year.

Jomar Torres has the mount on the 6-1 morning line choice and they have post two.

Rounding out the field are Wicked Finn with Angel Arroyo aboard, Laughing Boy will be ridden by Samuel Camacho Jr., Vincent Cheminaud rides General Jim, California Frolic with jockey Samy Camacho and Duke of Gloucester will have Isaac Castillo in the irons.

Return to the May 24 issue of Wire to Wire