Hop Skip and Away wins Reilly Cap at Monmouth

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Hop Skip and Away took command early and raced to a 2 3/4-length victory over Chief Carlson in the $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Ridden by Pedro Cotto, Hop Skip and Away covered six furlongs in 1:09 4-5 in winning for the 10th time in 57 career starts. The Joe Pierce Jr.-trained 8-year-old returned $21, $9.80 and $5.60.

In all his previous starts, Hop Skip and Away had never been in front through the first quarter of a mile. The traditional closer had won all nine of his races coming from the off pace.

Chief Carlson paid $13.60 and $6.80. It was another length and a half back to Bombast, who paid $3.80 to show.

''When I saw him on the lead, I was screaming `what are you doing','' said Pierce, who owns Hop Skip and Away in partnership with H.C.B. Lindh. ''I told Pedro in the paddock to use his judgment, but I didn't expect that. Pedro's judgment sure worked out, though.''

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