News & Notes - Finish Wire

             MONMOUTH PARK 2003


Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

August 29-September 15


Monmouth Park Donn in Grand Hombre's grand plan 

By MIKE FARRELL, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Dennis Manning continues to map a cautious schedule for Grand Hombre, a rising star in the 3-year-old ranks. Grand Hombre, an unbeaten gelding, captured the Grade 3, $750,000 Pennsylvania Derby Monday in his stakes debut. It was his fourth win.

Manning has designated the Grade 3, $400,000 Indiana Derby at Hoosier Park Oct. 3 as Grand Hombre's next start. Assuming all goes well in Indiana, Grand Hombre will close out his campaign in the Grade 3, $150,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Nov. 16.

Manning plans to take the horse to Ocala, Fla., for winter training, with the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park the tentative early target for 2004. Manning is a strong believer in giving horses time to mature and develop. He resisted the temptation to run Grand Hombre in the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell at Monmouth Park, passing up the big event at the horse's home track. He has taken a similar stand against the Breeders' Cup Classic at this time.

"I think he's a quality 3-year-old, and I think he's come along and done everything we've asked him to do," Manning said. "I'd like to have him around next year. I think he can be a top contender in the handicap division next year.

"Rather than run an unseasoned 3-year-old against Mineshaft and Candy Ride, I'd rather have somebody else worry next year about running their 3-year-old against my older horse."

Manning does have the Breeders' Cup in focus for his other 3-year-old star, Valid Video. The winner of the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga, Valid Video will make his next start in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Cocktailsandreams finds easier spot

Cocktailsandreams should appreciate the softer competition the $50,000 Lighthouse Stakes offers Saturday afternoon at Monmouth Park. A 6-year-old mare, she last ran in the Grade 3, $100,000 Matchmaker Handicap and turned in a strong effort at 31-1. She slipped through to take the lead turning for home and held on for a solid third.

"I thought we were home for a minute," said trainer Frank Generazio. "But then the class kicked in." Everything has gone smoothly since then. "She's training good," said Generazio. "I'm very happy with the way she's going."

Cocktailsandreams faces 10 rivals in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for fillies and mares on the grass. On a rain-soaked Thursday morning, Generazio looked skyward and offered one request. "I just hope it's on the turf," he said.

Goosey Gander is another contender looking for turf, as 21 of her 24 career starts have come on the grass. She won a Monmouth turf allowance in her latest outing. Media Access will be making her fourth start of the year - in four different states. She has run third at Colonial Downs, Delaware Park, and Mountaineer. Twilights Prayer is a hard-knocking New Jersey-bred mare who ran fifth in the Matchmaker. She earlier won the Spuce Fir Stakes against Jersey-breds.

Completing the field are Annatoga, Rebecca's Charm, Strodes Lane, Lady Linda, Noteable, Misty Sixes, and Coney Kitty. Frankie's Star, Vikki Slew, and Twinwinwin are listed as also-eligibles.

Wild Snitch heading home

Trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. had an upbeat assessment on Wild Snitch Thursday morning.

The filly will leave a clinic this week for owner Eb Novak's New Farm in Marlton, N.J., as she continues the recovery from a condylar fracture of the right foreleg. "The doctors did fantastic work putting in plates and screws," Perkins said. "She's pretty stable now. At the time, it looked like a bad thing."

The 2002 Sorority winner, Wild Snitch suffered the injury in the running of the Miss Woodford Stakes on Aug. 23.

Lanyon wins, thanks to Jakey D Ken Lanyon of Ocean, N.J., was in 23rd place with one race to go in Monmouth's first handicapping challenge on Aug. 30. He bet $200 to win on Jakey D, a longshot in the 11th race at Saratoga. Jakey D came roaring through the lane to pull off the upset. The $39.20 way payoff was enough to catapult Lanyon into first place.

He earned the $15,000 top prize and qualified for the Daily Racing Form/NTRA National Handicapping Championship Jan. 23-24, 2004, at Bally's Las Vegas. Runner-up David Krosunger of Wallingford, Pa., also qualified for the championship.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

August 5-28, 2003

Monmouth Park Extends Meet

Monmouth Park’s extended meet, which will run through September 28, will offer 15 stakes races worth a total of $740,000.

In previous seasons, Monmouth Park concluded its meet on Labor Day.

Anchoring the meet will be the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival on September 20, which features an entire day of racing for New Jersey-breds along with three $45,000 stakes races.

The six-furlong Friendly Lover Handicap is for three-year-olds and older, the Slady Castle Handicap for three-year-olds and older will be contested over one mile and 70 yards as will the William A. Purdey Handicap for fillies and mares three-years-old and older.

The meet concludes with the $50,000 Point Given Stakes for three-year-olds going 1 1/16 miles.

"The overall stakes schedule offers a little something for everyone in every division on turf and dirt and should prove popular with local horsemen as well as shippers," said Monmouth Park Vice President Bob Kulina.

Thoroughbred racing will shift to the Meadowlands beginning October 2 and will feature such marquee events as the $400,000 Meadowlands Cup (G2) for three-year-olds and older on October 3 and the $150,000 Violet Handicap (G3) for fillies and mares on the turf on October 17.

The Meadowlands’s meet will run through November 8 with racing Tuesday afternoons, and Wednesday through Saturday nights.

Monmouth Saarland to try softer in Iselin Handicap 

By MIKE FARRELL, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Saarland, a consistent contender in Grade 1 races this year, heads the eight runners who are likely for the Grade 3, $200,000 Philip H. Iselin Handicap Saturday afternoon at Monmouth Park. Saarland, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled, most recently finished sixth in the Grade 1 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. He was beaten less than four lengths in a race where he wound up trapped on the inside.

"He's a horse that cannot run on the inside because of his size," said trainer Shug McGaughey. "Because he's so big, he needs to run on the outside where he has clear running. He was caught on the rail and had nowhere to go in the Whitney."

The Whitney marked the first time in five starts this season that Saarland finished out of the money. Saarland lost by only a neck in his other Grade 1 start this season, the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on Memorial Day weekend. Saarland was assigned 117 pounds.

Other likely Iselin runners include: Tenpins, the probable starting highweight at 119 pounds following a victory in the Grade 3 Cornhusker Breeders' Cup Handicap at Prairie Meadows; Vinemeister (114), winner of Monmouth's Grade 3 Salvator Mile; Jersey Giant (115), the Salvator runner-up; Runspastum (114) who won Monmouth's Oceanport Handicap on June 14; Private Lap (115) who has won two of his last three at Delaware Park, including the Carpenter Handicap; Aeneas (114); and Sherpa Guide (114).

La Tizona can bounce back 

Michael Gill, Monmouth's leading owner, aimed too high with La Tizona in her first start wearing his colors. Fresh from a claim for $40,000, La Tizona faced Grade 3 competition in the Eatontown Handicap. She finished last, beaten 20 lengths. Gill wheels La Tizona right back for a $40,000 claiming tag Friday in the featured $41,000, optional claiming race for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on turf. La Tizona faces eight rivals.

New Jersey-breds to have their day

Taking a cue from successful series like the Maryland Million and New York Showcase Day, New Jersey-breds will have a day of their own Sept. 20 at Monmouth. For the first time, the entire 10-race card, including three $45,000 handicap races - the Friendly Lover, the Slady Castle, and the William A. Purdy - will be restricted to New Jersey-bred runners.

"It's important for the owners and breeders to have their day," said Mike Campbell, the executive director of the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association of New Jersey. "We're looking forward to making this an annual event that grows in the future."

The "Jersey Jubilee" will also feature a new owners seminar by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, display booths from New Jersey businesses, family entertainment, and a jockey autograph session.

The program will be a joint effort by Monmouth, the New Jersey breeders association, and the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.

Grand Hombre preps at Philadelphia

Jockey Joe Bravo and trainer Dennis Manning traveled to Philadelphia Park Wednesday morning to work Grand Hombre for the Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 1. Grand Hombre went seven furlongs in 1:26.33. "I was very happy with the work," Manning said. "Bravo was happy with the work."

Bravo will ride the undefeated Grand Hombre for the first time in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Backstretch applauds purse agreement

The news that September purses will average $250,000 per day got a favorable reception on the Monmouth backstretch. An agreement struck between the local horsemen's association and the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority guaranteed purses at that level through Sept. 28.

The NJSEA had originally guaranteed $300,000 a day for the traditional Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day season. Worst-case projections had purse levels falling to $150,000 for the extended portion of the meet.

"One-hundred-fifty is horrible in this day and age when places like Mountaineer and Charles Town can give away more than here because of slots," said trainer Chuck Spina. "I think this is great."

Kelly Breen, like many Monmouth trainers, was relieved. "If we can have September at $250,000, it will help Monmouth Park tremendously to keep quality racing here," Breen said. "It's going to keep my owners happy that we're running for a decent amount of money."


Monmouth Haskell Weekend Recap & News and Notes

July 31-August 4, 2003

Tuesday, August 5, 2003
One day after Monmouth Park shattered attendance and handle records for the Haskell Invitational, wire-to-wire winner Peace Rules shipped out of the Monmouth Park backstretch Monday morning to Saratoga.

Third-place finisher, Funny Cide, also returned to Saratoga, still feeling some post-race ailments.  

"I spoke to Barclay, and he woke up with a temperature of 102 degrees. His eye was also closed possibly due to some sand in it," said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of the Sackatoga Stable. "Everything else is fine. We just didn't see the Funny Cide we saw in the first nine races."


Monmouth - Peace Rules wins Haskell, Funny Cide 3rd

Peace Rules and Edgar Prado cruise to the wire to capture the $1.1 million Haskell Invitational by 1 3/4 lengths over Sky Mesa on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

By JAY PRIVMAN, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Peace Rules on Sunday morning came down the New York Thruway from Saratoga, crossed over to the Garden State Parkway, arrived at Monmouth Park, and then Sunday afternoon kept right on motoring, leading from start to finish to capture the $1.1 million Haskell Invitational. Peace Rules won by 1 3/4 lengths over Sky Mesa, with Funny Cide, the wagering and sentimental favorite of the record Monmouth crowd of 53,638, checking in a distant third, some 7 1/4 lengths behind Sky Mesa in an uncharacteristically dull performance.

The victory offered a significant consolation prize for trainer Bobby Frankel, whose Empire Maker was upset only minutes earlier at Saratoga in the Jim Dandy Stakes by Strong Hope. Assistant Jose Cuevas saddled Peace Rules at Monmouth.

Peace Rules always has raced in the shadow of Empire Maker, but he has compiled an enviable record. He won the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes earlier this year, was third in the Kentucky Derby, then was given a freshening following a fourth-place finish in the Preakness Stakes. Four of his final six works heading into the Haskell were the best of the day at the distance.

It was a warm, humid day at Monmouth, but predicted showers never arrived. The track was extremely fast, with most sprints producing opening quarter miles in 21 seconds and change. Peace Rules got a soft trip under the circumstances. When no one set out with purpose for the lead, he found himself in front while setting comfortable fractions of 23.29 seconds, :47.06 and 1:10.86 for the first six furlongs.

Funny Cide, meanwhile, was struggling. Funny Cide usually moves up on his own, running into the bit, but jockey Jose Santos was shoving on him midway down the backstretch.

"I took him out, then back in," Santos said. "Usually he takes off with me."

Peace Rules cruised around the final turn unchallenged, kicked clear by three lengths at the top of the stretch, and had plenty left to hold off Sky Mesa. Funny Cide rallied to finish third, passing tired horses while never really accelerating.

"Bobby thought Peace Rules was at his best coming off a layoff," said Prado, who chose to ride Peace Rules over Sky Mesa. "After the Preakness, he pointed for this particular race. He was right."

Peace Rules was timed in 1:49.32 for 1 1/8 miles. The victory was his sixth in 11 starts. Peace Rules, a 3-year-old son of Jules, is 5 for 8 since Frankel acquired him for owner Ed Gann. The Haskell victory was worth $600,000.

John Ward Jr., who trains Sky Mesa with his wife, Donna, was thrilled with the way Sky Mesa performed in his second start of the year. "He's so lightly raced," Ward said. It's a learning process."

Santos opined that Funny Cide needed the race and would be at the top of his game for the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in three weeks. Barclay Tagg, who trains Funny Cide, said Santos told him that Funny Cide was not handling the track.

"He said he was fighting the track," Tagg said. "But the track was so fast - they were running 21 and change every race - it's hard to imagine the track would be breaking away from him."

*A daily double bet combining Amigo Hall, the winner of Saturday's

Hambletonian harness race at the Meadowlands, with Peace Rules paid $331.20.


Monmouth - Milwaukee Brew tops Haskell undercard 

By MIKE FARRELL, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Bobby Frankel and jockey Edgar Prado kicked off a hugely successful Haskell Day as Milwaukee Brew returned to action Sunday with an effortless win in the first race at Monmouth Park.

Milwaukee Brew joined stablemate Peace Rules in celebrating a victorious trip to the Jersey Shore. The Handicap star needed a tuneup for the $1 million Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 at Del Mar and found the perfect spot in the $55,000 money-allowance race.

Milwaukee Brew wound up last in the early running of the 1 1-16 miles race, bunched in a tight pack in the six-horse field. Prado eased the 6-year-old star to the outside for clear running and Milwaukee Brew took it from there. He circled into contention with a four-wide move approaching the quarter-mile pole and pulled away to a 4 1-4 length win with Prado hand riding through the lane. They stopped the clock in 1:42.60 on the wet-fast track.

"It was pretty easy," Prado said. "Hopefully this will be a good prep for the Pacific Classic."

Milwaukee Brew paid $2.40 to win in his first race since capturing a second straight Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap in March. 

Annatoga rallies to win Lady's Secret 

Julian Pimentel continues to excel in Monmouth stakes as he guided Annatoga to a three-length win over the pacesetting Rebecca's Charm.

Pimentel, who has won eight stakes at the meet, had his filly in perfect stalking position to gallop past the leader in the lane. Annatoga paid $9.60 to win as she recorded her first win in three starts since being claimed for $50,000 in April by trainer Richard Dutrow.

She ran the 1 1-16 miles in 1:44.05.

Pimentel strikes again in the Ocean Place Resort

Pimentel wasted little time logging a ninth stakes win as he rallied In Hand to the upset in the $75,000 Ocean Place Resorts Stakes In Hand came storming down the soft track to beat Sigint by a head. "He was really picking them up late," Pimentel said. "He certainly seemed to like the soft turf today.

In Hand ($29.80) ran the 1 1-16 miles in 1:47.79 for trainer Phil Oliver.

Purely Classic, the 7-10 favorite, raced close to the pace but faded badly on the final turn and finished seventh.

Mooji Moo upsets in Regret

Mooji Moo, trained by Tim Hills and ridden by Abdiel Toribio, posted a 1 1-2 length win over Fly Me Crazy in the $75,000 Regret Stakes for fillies and mares going six furlongs.

The 4-year-old filly clearly prefers Monmouth where she has won three times in five starts.

Mooji Moo paid $20.60 as she was clocked in 1:09.75. Forest Heiress, the 7-10 favorite from the Bill Mott barn, ran fourth.

Fashion Girl wins Colleen on a DQ

Standswithafist finished first under the wire but was placed second for stretch interference against Fashion Girl in the $60,000 Colleen Stakes. The disqualification moved Fashion Girl ($5.80) into the win slot for leading jockey Joe Bravo and trainer D. Wayne Lukas.

The 5 1-2 furlong race for 2-year-old fillies was originally set for Saturday but was shifted to Haskell Day with a $10,000 purse increase.

It's a Monster gets up in Teddy Drone

It's a Monster wore down Native Heir in a furious stretch battle to win the $75,000 Teddy Drone by three-quarters of a length.

It's a Monster ($6.60), trained by Benny Perkins, Jr. whose Max Forever ran fifth in the Haskell, posted his third straight win, all at Monmouth. He ran the six furlongs in 1:09.66 as Bravo won his second straight stakes.

Eltawaasul wins Battlefield

Eltawaasul, making his first start since November, rallied to win the $75,000 Battlefield Stakes at 1 1-8 miles on the turf.

Eltawaasul ($29.20) beat American Freedom by three quarters of a length in 1:54.27 for trainer Mark Hubley and jockey Eddie Martin, Jr.


Monmouth - Follow Me Home supreme in filly sprints 

By MIKE FARRELL, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Follow Me Home continued her dominance of the local 3-year-old filly sprinters with a victory in Saturday's $50,000 Trenton Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Follow Me Home is unbeaten in four starts at the meet, the last three stakes races.

Follow Me Home ($4.40) beat the late-running Randaroo by 1 3/4 lengths in 58.13 seconds. Nicole's Dream was third.

The Trenton, slated for five furlongs on the turf but shifted to the muddy main track, posed Follow Me Home's biggest challenge to date.

Although the field dwindled to six runners with the surface shift, the quality remained high. Randaroo had contested Grade 1 stakes at Belmont Park in her last two outings, while Nicole's Dream had stakes experience in Chicago.

They were no match for Follow Me Home on her home track.

"I feel as though she's getting better every week," trainer Robert Levine said. "She's putting weight on and she's getting bigger and better."

Lilias Trotter set the pace with Follow Me Home and Nicole's Dream running as a team in a stalking position two lengths behind.

Follow Me Home, with Julian Pimentel aboard, angled off the rail turning for home and prevailed while drifting out in deep stretch.

Levine, while enjoying the win and a box of fancy cigars from a local sponsor, had one regret: He still wants to get Follow Me Home on the turf. This was second Monmouth stakes she won that had been scheduled for the grass. "I'd still like to get her a turf race to see if she can handle it," Levine said.




Sunday, August 3, 2003

With a record New Jersey racing crowd of 53,638 packing Monmouth Park Sunday and setting new marks for betting, Edmund A. Gann's Peace Rules led every step of the way to win the $1 million Haskell Invitational as even-money favorite Funny Cide could do no better than third.

At the finish of the mile and an eighth Haskell, Peace Rules held a length and three-quarters margin over Sky Mesa, who was seven and a quarter lengths in front of Funny Cide. Wild and Wicked was a length farther back in fourth.

The last three spots in the field of seven went to Max Forever, Kool Humor and Excessivepleasure.

Peace Rules, trained by Bobby Frankel and ridden by Edgar Prado, was making his first start since running fourth behind Funny Cide in the Preakness Stakes on May 17. Before that, he was third to Funny Cide in the Kentucky Derby.

The 3-year-old son of Jules, who won the Louisiana Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes this spring, paid $6.60, $3.80 and $2.10 after racing nine furlongs over a fast track in 1:49 1/5. He topped a $28.20 exacta and a $54.40 trifecta.

Wagering records fell across the board during the day, as the total Monmouth handle of $12,532,532 eclipsed the mark of $11,256,345 set in 2001, and the on-track betting of $3,965,735 surpassed the record of $3,950,002 that had stood since 1968. Betting on the Haskell alone was $3,703,584, which topped the former mark of $2,706,397 set in 2000.

"He was really sharp going into the first turn and he just kept on running," Frankel said over the phone from Saratoga, where he had saddled Empire Maker to run second in Sunday's Jim Dandy Stakes. "I really thought the outside horses would outrun him early. Our plan was to sit behind horses early, but he was so sharp.

"It's a great race to win, it's a million dollars and Grade 1. I'm happy for the owners because they had a great weekend (won Saturday's Whitney at Saratoga with Medaglia d'Oro)."

Prado echoed the trainer's comments. "He was very sharp today," the rider said "He wanted to go out there running. In the stretch he found another gear and kept on running. I felt someone coming at me late. I didn't know it was Sky Mesa, but my horse was home by then."

Barclay Tagg, trainer of Funny Cide, had no explanations for the gelding's lackluster performance. "I don't know what to say," the trainer said with a shake of his head. "He didn't do any running."

Funny Cide's jockey, Jose Santos, said, "He broke real nice. I had a good hold of him, but he just spit the bit at the six-furlong pole. After that he was just traveling along. He didn't accelerate. He just wasn't the same horse I rode in his previous races."

The Haskell was the sixth career victory in 11 starts for Peace Rules, and the winner's share of $600,000 brought his lifetime bankroll to $1,859,990.

The crowd was a record for Monmouth Park, topping the mark of 47,127 set on Haskell Day in 2001. It was also a record for any racetrack in the state of New Jersey, eclipsing the old mark of 51,077 set at Garden State Park on May 30, 1967.

The Hambo-Haskell double, a $2 wager coupling the $1 million Hambletonian Trot at the Meadowlands Saturday and the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth, paid $331.20. Amigo Hall, the Hambletonian winner, paid $57 to win.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

July 23-July 30, 2003

Wednesday, July 30, 2003
EXCESSIVEPLEASURE - The Doug O'Neill-trained colt was due to arrive at Monmouth Wednesday afternoon after shipping from California. Owned by Ty and Leroy Leatherman, Excessivepleasure won the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows in his last start on July 5. Jon Court, who rode the son of In Excess in Iowa, has the mount Sunday.

FUNNY CIDE - Sackatoga Stable's winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes is expected to arrive at Monmouth early Sunday morning.

The Barclay Tagg-trained gelding had his final breeze for the Haskell at Saratoga last Sunday, going six furlongs in 1:12 2/5. He galloped once around the Spa oval Wednesday morning, Tagg said.

Jose Santos, aboard in Funny Cide's Triple Crown races, rides Sunday.

KOOL HUMOR - The gelded son of Distorted Humor has returned to home ground for the first time since he made his career debut at Monmouth last July. A New Jersey-bred, Kool Humor has been racing at Lone Star Park, with his most recent score coming in the Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 5.

Kool Humor and trainer Jack Bruner arrived at Monmouth Tuesday afternoon after shipping from Dallas, Texas. The 3-year-old, owned by Tom Durant, got his first feel of the Monmouth track Wednesday morning.

"He jogged this morning," Bruner said. "I wasn't going to take him to the track today, but I couldn't keep him on the ground."

Bruner said the schedule called for Kool Humor to gallop Thursday and jog again Friday.

"I don't know yet what he'll do Saturday," Bruner said. "We'll wait and see what he needs."

Eddie Martin Jr., who has been aboard in Kool Humor's last two wins, has the mount Sunday.

MAX FOREVER - The local hope galloped a mile and a half around the Monmouth oval Wednesday morning.

Raymond and Dorothy Dweck's colt won the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes (G3) in his last start to earn an invitation to the Haskell.

"He'll gallop to the race," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said. "He breezed last week (five furlongs in 1:01 3/5 on Friday), so he's pretty ready to go."

Jose Ferrer, who has been aboard in Max Forever's last three starts, has the mount again Sunday.

PEACE RULES - Edmund A. Gann's colt, who is stabled at Saratoga with the rest of trainer Bobby Frankel's string, is expected to arrive at Monmouth early Sunday morning after a van ride from the Spa.

Peace Rules won the Blue Grass Stakes in April, then finished third in the Kentucky Derby and fourth in the Preakness Stakes, his last start on May 17.

Edgar Prado, who was aboard Peace Rules in his Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass victories, has the mount in the Haskell.

SKY MESA - The John A. Ward Jr.-trained colt is slated to arrive at Monmouth Saturday from Saratoga.

"He'll gallop up to the race," Ward said Wednesday. "He had his last work the other day (five furlongs in :59 4/5 on Saturday). We'll be at Monmouth sometime this Saturday."

John C. Oxley's colt was unbeaten as a 2-year-old and would have been the favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile had not an injury forced him to the sidelines just days before that race.

Sky Mesa did not return to the races until July 6, when he ran third in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont, his first career loss.

Robby Albarado will ride the Pulpit colt for the first time in the Haskell.

WILD AND WICKED - Mr. and Mrs. R. David Randal's unbeaten colt is scheduled to arrive at Monmouth Saturday morning after vanning from Saratoga.

Ken McPeek trains the Wild Again colt, who won the Ohio Derby at Thistledown in his last start on June 21.

Shane Sellers, who has been aboard in all three Wild and Wicked victories, has the mount again.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Last year marked the first time ever a Kentucky Derby winner took Monmouth Park's Grade 1 Haskell Invitational.  This year the connections of Funny Cide will be hoping for a repeat Derby-Haskell combo when Funny Cide heads to Oceanport, NJ, for his try at the $1 million, mile and an eighth contest.

Funny Cide heads to the Haskell after taking the Derby by a length and three-quarters then dominating the Preakness with a nine and three-quarter length score.  His Triple Crown bid was spoiled when he finished third in the Belmont, beaten five lengths by Empire Maker.

"After almost eight weeks, we're getting ready for some more Funny Cide excitement," said Jack Knowlton, managing partner of Sackatoga Stable, owners of Funny Cide.  "The Haskell is a million dollars, a prestigious Grade 1 race.  Funny Cide has had nine races and he's never run a bad one."

Through those nine career starts, Funny Cide has a record of 5-2-1 and earnings $615 shy of the $2 million mark.  In addition to winning the Derby and Preakness, the 3-year-old gelding by Distorted Humor out of the Slewacide mare Belle's Good Cide, captured his first three outings against fellow New York-breds.  Earlier this year he was fifth in the Holy Bull (G3), third in the Louisiana Derby (G2), but placed second following the disqualification of Kafwain and second in the Wood Memorial (G2), all prior to winning the Derby.

"I'm very confident in the way this horse is doing," said Funny Cide's jockey Jose Santos, who rode Haskell winners Kissin Kris (1993) and Skip Away (1996).  "In the Belmont the weather was real bad and he never was dealing with the track that day.  Going into the first turn he changed leads a couple of times and that's not normal for a horse that likes the track.

"Funny Cide is a lot better when he follows horses.  Peace Rules has speed and so does Sky Mesa and Benny Perkins' horse (Max Forever).  If we can sit third or fourth behind them, I'll be in good shape.

"I like Monmouth Park.  I've been very lucky when I go there.  My past performance at Monmouth Park and the Haskell is very good.  I'm very confident to go there and do my best."

Expected to face Funny Cide this Sunday at Monmouth are Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes winner Peace Rules; WinStar and Iowa Derby winner Excessivepleasure; Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes winner Kool Humor; Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes winner Max Forever; Lanes End Breeders' Futurity and Hopeful Stakes winner Sky Mesa; and, Wild and Wicked, undefeated winner of the Ohio Derby.

The race will be televised live on ESPN2 from 5 - 6 p.m. on Sunday.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Jockey Joe Bravo continues to lead the Monmouth Park rider standings as the Long Branch native goes for his ninth riding title, which would break his own record of eight.

Through Sunday's program, Bravo has 60 winners, 16 more than Jose C. Ferrer.  In third is Julian Pimentel with 36 wins, five more than Jose Velez Jr.  Jeremy Rose rounds out the top five with 27 trips to the winner's circle.

Over in the trainer's race it's Mark Shuman showing the way with 36 victories, 19 more than last year's top conditioner Tim Hills.  Tied in third are Linda Rice and Ben Perkins Jr., each with 13 winners.  Alan Seewald, who won Saturday's Salvator Mile with Vinemeister, is fifth with 11 wins.

The owner's race has Michael Gill a runaway leader with 42 wins.  In second is Runnin Horse Farms, leading owner the past four Monmouth seasons, with nine victories, one more than E & G Stables.



By MIKE FARRELL, Daily Racing Form

July 30, 2003
OCEANPORT, N.J. - A healthy and motivated Jose Ferrer continues to enjoy a career revival at Monmouth Park.

Ferrer, 39, has seemingly turned back the clock almost a decade to when he perennially ranked among the Monmouth leaders.

His stock has dipped in recent seasons, but Ferrer has come roaring back.

Ferrer won four races Sunday to cement his standing as the No. 2 rider here behind Joe Bravo. He hasn't conceded the title, now that he rides first call for Michael Gill, the meet's leading owner, and Linda Rice, one of the top-percentage trainers.

"I'm going to give it a try," Ferrer said. "It's always been my dream to be leading rider at Monmouth Park."

Ferrer points the finger of blame squarely at himself for never seizing that prize.

"I blew the chances myself by not working and being lazy," Ferrer said. "I'm not getting any younger. You don't know what opportunities you'll get in the future. You've got to take it now."

Ferrer has ridden for Rice for almost 10 years, but Gill is a new client.

Gill started the meet using Jeremy Rose but settled on Ferrer after auditioning several other riders.

The relationship dates back to the winter in Florida, where Ferrer and wife, Rosemary Homeister Jr., both rode for Gill.

"We both met him in Florida," Ferrer said. "I told him to keep me in mind. I was lucky to fall right into that barn. It gives me a chance to show the talent I've still got."

Ferrer started the meet strongly, bagging winners from a limited number of mounts. Thanks to Gill, Ferrer has upped the quantity as well as the quality of his rides.

At the start of the meet, Ferrer said, "I wasn't getting too much business - maybe three or four horses a day."

That has changed. Ferrer was named to ride in five of the nine races on Thursday's card. He has two mounts for Gill and one for Rice.

Removal of a bone spur from the big toe on Ferrer's right foot in January also contributed to the comeback.

"The last couple of years, my foot was bothering me," he said. "We got that straightened out. Now I feel good."

In Thursday's second race, a $16,000 claimer, Ferrer rides the Gill horse Slew Gulch. Red Gem, Ferrer's other Gill mount, also runs for $16,000 in the seventh.

Ferrer rides Tamisa, a first-time starter, for Rice in the fifth race.


Sunday, July 27, 2003
Owner John Oxley and trainer John Ward are no strangers to winning the nation's biggest races, but one has eluded them through two tries, Monmouth Park's Haskell Invitational.

In 1995, it was a hard charging Pyramid Peak who fell 3/4 of a length behind Serena's Song in the Haskell.  In 2001, Hero's Tribute stalked the leaders before fading in the stretch.  For this year's 36th renewal of the mile and an eighth Haskell, Oxley and Ward's hopes lie with Sky Mesa.

Undefeated at two, Sky Mesa has had just one start as a 3-year-old, finishing third in the Dwyer on July 6 at Belmont.  For his try in the $1 million Haskell, he's expected to face Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide, who worked six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 this morning at Saratoga.

"If you plan to go against a Triple Crown horse, the time to get him is his first race back," said Ward, who conditioned Oxley's Monarchos to win the 2001 Kentucky Derby.  "If there's a time when a horse is vulnerable, now is the time."

Sky Mesa kicked off his career in August of last year, taking his maiden by nearly eight lengths, and then winning the Grade 1 Hopeful by almost two.  His first try around two turns was successful, winning the Lanes End Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland by four lengths.

The colt by Pulpit out of the Storm Cat mare Caress was forced to scratch from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile the day before the race last October with an injury to his right front ankle.

Sky Mesa's long road back to the races came on July 6, when he was third to the highly regarded Strong Hope in the Dwyer.  The Haskell will mark his second start of 2003.

On the work tab Saturday morning were two horses headed for Oceanport next Sunday:  Peace Rules and Excessivepleasure.  The Bobby Frankel trained Peace Rules, fourth last out in the Preakness, breezed five furlongs at Saratoga in 1:00, while Excessivepleasure went 1:01 1/5 at Santa Anita.  The Doug O'Neill trained Excessivepleasure is scheduled to fly from his California base to New Jersey on Tuesday and be bedded down in either barn three or six.

Also slated to arrive Tuesday afternoon is Kool Humor, winner of the Alysheba Breeders' Cup Stakes at Lone Star in his last.  Trainer Jack Bruner said the New Jersey-bred gelding by Distorted Humor will leave his base at Retama Park in San Antonio for a Tuesday flight to the Garden State.  Kool Humor will be in barn six, the same barn that Ronny Werner, Kool Humor's former trainer, occupied last year at Monmouth Park.

Max Forever, the Ben Perkins Jr.-trainee, who's stabled at Monmouth, captured the Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes last out and is the only horse regularly stabled at Monmouth headed for this year's Haskell.

Those still considered possible for the Haskell are Congrats, an odds-on allowance winner at Belmont in his last and Wild and Wicked, undefeated winner of the Ohio Derby.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

July 17-July 22, 2003


Friday, July 18, 2003


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Sackatoga Stable's Funny Cide, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes this season, will carry highweight of 123 pounds in the $1 million Haskell Invitational, Monmouth Park's signature event for 3-year-olds, on Sunday, Aug. 3.

Mike Dempsey, Monmouth Park's racing secretary and handicapper, weighted 25 invited horses for the Grade 1 Haskell. If there are any further invitations, Dempsey will assign weights when the horses are named. Funny Cide, trained by Barclay Tagg, is expected to be the starting highweight in the 36th running of the mile and an eighth Haskell, which is the richest invitational race run in North America.

Juddmonte Farms' Empire Maker, trained by Bobby Frankel, drew co-highweight of 123 pounds, but that colt is expected to run in Saratoga's Jim Dandy Stakes the same day as the Haskell. Edmund A. Gann's Peace Rules, another Frankel charge, is expected to pick up his Haskell assignment of 121 pounds. The colt won the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes and Grade 2 Louisiana Derby in the spring.

John C. Oxley's Sky Mesa, one of the top 2-year-olds of 2002 who was injured before the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, was assigned 118 pounds for the Haskell. John Ward trains Sky Mesa, who returned to action on July 6 when he ran third in the Dwyer Stakes at Belmont.

Also at 118 is Mr. and Mrs. David Randal's Wild and Wicked. The Wild Again colt is unbeaten in three career starts and last out won the Ohio Derby at Thistledown.

In addition to Funny Cide, Peace Rules, Sky Mesa and Wild and Wicked, the Haskell is expected to attract several other 3-year-olds, including Ty and Leroy Leatherman's Excessivepleasure, 117; Gustav Schickedanz's Mobil, 117; Tom Durant's Kool Humor, and Bee Bee Stables & Jacqueline Tortora's  Supah Blitz, 115.

The complete list of Haskell weights follows:

Empire Maker (123) Funny Cide (123) Peace Rules (121) Wando (120) Ten Most Wanted (119) Trust N Luck (119) Dynever (118) Sky Mesa (118)  Wild and Wicked (118) During (117) Excessivepleasure (117)  Eye of the Tiger (117) Midway Road (117) Mobil (117) Scrimshaw (117) Strong Hope (117) Best Minister (116)  Champali (116)  Nacheezmo (116) Christine's Outlaw (115)  Congrats (115)  El Ruller (115) Kool Humor (115)  Max Forever (115) Supah Blitz (115)

News & Notes

Mike Farrell, Daily Racing Form


*The New Jersey Racing Commission approved the state's first Thoroughbred handicapping contest Wednesday morning at its meeting at Monmouth. The top two finishers in the Monmouth contest on Aug. 30 qualify for the Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship on Jan. 23-24, 2004, at Bally's in Las Vegas.

The entry fee for Monmouth's contest is $200 with another $200 cash stake required for tournament wagers. The contest will be limited to 150 entries; total prize money will be $30,000 with $15,000 to the winner. The contest tracks will be Monmouth, Saratoga, and Delaware Park. Wagers are restricted to win, place, and show.

*The commission also approved a unique cross-breed daily-double wager linking a pair of $1 million 3-year-old races: the Hambletonian for trotters Aug. 2 at The Meadowlands and the Haskell at Monmouth the following day. As an added incentive for bettors, the double will be subject to only a 12 percent takeout.

*The commission also began the lengthy rules amendment process to change the workout requirements for first-time starters. The new rules, which probably won't take effect until next year, call for at least two published works within 45 days of the initial start. The current regulations permit just a single workout.

"This would provide more information to the wagering public and is consistent with the surrounding jurisdictions at present," said Frank Zanzuccki, the commission's executive director.

*Racing secretary Mike Dempsey extended an invitation to the $1 million Haskell on Aug. 3 to During after the Bob Baffert trainee won the Swaps Stakes Sunday at Hollywood Park.

Fundraisers on tap 

The Monmouth Park Charity Ball Committee has two major fundraisers scheduled. "An Afternoon at Monmouth Park" takes place July 23 and includes a fashion show. The program includes a luncheon for a $50 donation to the Charity Ball.

The annual Monmouth Park Charity Ball takes place Aug. 9 at the Shore Casino in Atlantic Highlands. Tickets for the evening of dining and dancing are $150.

The Charity Ball committee raises money for local Monmouth County charities. Call (732) 571-5325 for information or tickets to either event.

- Only a dozen picnic tables remain for Haskell Day. The tables go for $125 which includes eight passes, programs, and pens. Bring your own sandwiches. The group sales office at (732) 571-5544 handles table sales.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

June 30-July 16, 2003


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Funny Cide headlines a list of 26 horses that were extended invitations for this year's $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. The 3-year-old gelding by Distorted Humor is expected to make the mile and an eighth race on Sunday, Aug. 3, his first start since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes to fellow Haskell invitee Empire Maker.

"The Haskell has clearly stamped itself as one of the nation's premier events," said Bob Kulina, vice president of Thoroughbred racing for Monmouth Park. "This year should once again continue that tradition and provide New Jersey race fans with yet another memorable race day in the Garden State."

In addition to Funny Cide, others with an eye on the Haskell include Peace Rules, winner of the Louisiana Derby and Blue Grass Stakes and third in the Kentucky Derby; Strong Hope, winner of the Dwyer, his fourth straight score; Sky Mesa, third in the Dwyer last out, his 3-year-old debut; Wild and Wicked, undefeated winner of the Ohio Derby; Excessivepleasure, victor of the Iowa and WinStar Derbies; and, Kool Humor, a Jersey-bred who won the Alysheba Stakes at Lone Star in his last.

The complete list of invitees for this year's 36th running of the Haskell are:

Best Minister Empire Maker
Go Rockin Robin New York Hero
Sky Mesa Trust N Luck
Champali Eye Of The Tiger
Kool Humor Peace Rules
Soto Wando
Christine's Outlaw Excessivepleasure
Max Forever Rock Again
Strong Hope Wild and Wicked
Dynever Funny Cide
Midway Road Scrimshaw
Supah Blitz Ten Most Wanted
El Ruler Mobil


By Mike Farrell - Daily Racing Form

Jeremy Rose, second in the Monmouth jockey standings, has shifted his base to Delaware Park following the breakup with leading owner Michael Gill. "We got some pretty good vibes," at Delaware, said agent John Breeden.

Rose was the Monmouth stable rider for Gill until the split on Sunday (7/6). Victor Carrero picked up the Gill mounts on the Wednesday (7/9) card and got off to a rough start.

He could not hold a three-length stretch lead in the second race and settled for third aboard Once Rich. In the third race aboard Last Intention, Carrero was disqualified from first and placed second for stretch interference.

Carrero and Gill rebounded to win the $50,000 featured allowance aboard Rebecca's Charm, beating Grade 1 winner Miss Linda in the process. 

The split came abruptly Sunday (7/6) morning as Rose cleared out his locker in the jockey's room and scratched off all his mounts, including those not owned by Gill.

John Breeden, Rose's agent, confirmed the breakup. "Mike (Gill) wanted to make a change for a few days and wanted to take Jeremy off today's horses," Breeden said. "I told him you can't do that. "You can't knock somebody one day and expect them to be your friend giving 100 percent."

Rose was unwilling to step aside and watch other riders take his mounts. "It would have been unfair to Jeremy," Breeden said. "It's a difficult time. We have to step back, take a few deep breaths. We have to decide whether we're going to go back to Delaware or pound the pavement to stay at Monmouth."

Gill recruited Rose to ride his Monmouth string this meet. Entering Sunday's (7/6) action, Rose was second in the standings with 27 wins, 18 behind Joe Bravo. Gill dominates the owner standings with 26 wins. Eddie Broome, E & G Stables and New Farm are tied for second with six. Rose won the 2001 Eclipse Award winner as the outstanding apprentice rider.


Joe Bravo missed the Saturday (7/12) card to ride two horses for Monmouth-based trainers in the Summit of Speed at Calder.

Bravo, Monmouth's leading jockey, won on both of his mounts on the Summit of Speed Card: 

Joe's Son Joey won $100,000 Calder Turf Sprint for Tim Hills and Valid Video won the Grade 3, $300,000 Carry Back Stakes for Dennis Manning.


Henry Cochran arrived Monday (7/7) with a string of horses from Churchill Downs. Although this is the first time the trainer has set up shop here, Cochran is no stranger to Monmouth. A former assistant to Tom Skiffington, Cochran often shipped into Monmouth to run horses for that stable. Cochran branched out on his own in 1994 and has alternated between the Fair Grounds in the winter and Kentucky in recent seasons. A former steeplechase rider from Maryland, Cochran also worked for Joe Cantey when that trainer had top runners Temperence Hill and Majesty's Prince.


Pat Bottazzi, the leading trainer at the Meadowlands Racetrack in 1991, got back in the game Wednesday when he claimed Gala Gold Country for $10,000 in the fifth race. Bottazzi has not been active for several seasons.


Anstu Stable's Balto Star, a 37-1 shot making the most of his inside post, took command at the start and repulsed all challengers in the stretch to score an upset victory in the $750,000 United Nations Handicap (G1) at Monmouth Park on Saturday (7/5). The field was closing in at the wire, but with Jose Velez Jr. urging him on, Balto Star scored by a half-length over The Tin Man, who was a nose in front of Lunar Sovereign. Denon, the favorite in the turf route, finished fifth. Balto Star raced the mile and three-eighths in 2:12 3/5 to break the course record set in last year's United Nations 'Cap by With Anticipation. That 8-year-old warrior finished last in this running.


Howard Bass of Thoroughbred Times reports Monmouth Park's leading trainer, Mark Shuman, said that Monmouth Park denied him stalls, so he is taking most of his business to Philadelphia Park. Shuman trains for controversial owner Michael Gill, the nation’s leading owner in terms of victories and purse earnings.

Gill has claimed vigorously at Monmouth Park, taking 27 horses thus far. He has had 15 horses claimed from him. Gill has run 121 horses the first 27 days of the meet. Shuman, who has started 84 horses for Gill at Monmouth Park, said that shipping two hours from a farm in Pennsylvania is costing him victories and that Philadelphia Park is only an hour away.

Shuman has 17 victories, but has been second 23 times through Saturday. Gill also races at Monmouth Park with trainer Gamaliel Vazquez, who has six wins from 30 starters with, and John Robb, who is winless for seven starters.

"We don't have any stalls available right now," said Robert Kulina, Monmouth Park's general manager. "He applied for stalls; his application was late. He wasn't allotted stalls."

Shuman disagreed. "Let them try to fill their races without me," he said. "I've got 130 horses that run here." Shuman said that "you'll notice the difference soon" and that he would continue to send horses to Monmouth Park because he feels that the racing is not as good as the purses."

Gill entered nine horses Sunday (6/29), eight trained by Shuman and one by Robb. He won one race, the tenth, with Formal Event.

Shuman has three entered Wednesday (7/2) while Vazquez has two.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

June 26-29, 2003

-Friday, June 27, 2003
Jockey Joe Bravo, who holds nearly all the riding records at Monmouth Park, rode the 1,000th winner of his career at the shore oval Friday when he guided G. Watts Humphrey Jr.'s Shawnee Sunrise to a head victory in the $39,000 allowance feature.

Bravo, who is looking for a ninth riding title at Monmouth, brought his total for the meet to 36 aboard Shawnee Sunrise. The mare by Roar, trained by Vicki Oliver, raced the one mile on turf in 1:39 1/5 and paid $4.20, $2.60 and $2.40 across the board as the favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares. Hannie's Candy, who was just headed for the win, completed the $17.60 exacta.

Bravo is the first rider to ever hit the 1,000-winner mark at Monmouth Park. He began riding regularly at Monmouth in 1991, when he won the first of his record eight riding titles. His last two seasons at Monmouth Park were cut short by injury when he suffered a broken leg in 2001 and a fractured wrist in 2002.

Bravo also holds the Monmouth record for most wins in a day with six, which he did twice, in 1994 and 2002. 

-On Sunday’s card (6/29) Earle I. Mack's Grand Hombre remained undefeated in his second career starts, taking the, $37,000 allowance, eighth race by 2 1/2 lengths over Cointreau.

Ridden by Carlos Cruz, the 3-year-old colt by Grand Slam covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:43 and returned $3.20 as the odds-on favorite. The colt by Grand Slam debuted at Gulfstream Park on March 8, an eye-catching performance, in a field of highly regarded maidens. He battled the favored Mazengah through fractions of :22 for the quarter and :44 3/5 for the half before drawing off to win by four lengths in 1:08 3/5 for six furlongs. He paid $30.60 as a big surprise.

'We've lost some training on him with the weather we've had lately,' said winning trainer Dennis Manning.  'Today I told Carlos just to play it by ear.  I knew he would rate, especially when they go :24 for the first quarter.  My only concern was that he wasn't tight enough after missing some training because of the weather.

'The Long Branch is very possible for his next start.  Mr. Mack has been looking towards the Haskell for this horse, but that's still a ways away.'  The $100,000 Long Branch (G3)  at a mile and a sixteenth will be run on Saturday, July 12, and serves as a prep for Monmouth's $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3.

-On Thursday (6/26) Michael Tabor's Zavata, a  $575,000 2002 Fasig-Tipton February sale purchase, went to the post in the eighth race, an allowance event under regular rider, Tony Farina.  The Patrick Biancone trainee prepped for a possible start at Calder Race Course's $1.75 million Summit of Speed program on July 12, a possible favorite in the $300,000 Carry Back Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-olds.  Zavata covered the six furlong distance in 1:08 4/5. 

Zavata was the early season leader of the nation's 2-year-old division at one point last summer after victories in the Tremont Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont in June and Saratoga Special (gr. II) in mid-August. As the favorite in the Hopeful (gr. I) at the Spa he finished third to an emerging star in Sky Mesa.

After trying to stretch out in distance for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (pulled up to last), the son of Phone Trick didn't run again until March 24 at Belmont, finishing fifth against top class older horses on a 'sloppy' track he didn't handle.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

June 20-25, 2003

-Another weekend of racing on the off track and still no grass racing in sight as the local weather on the eastern seaboard continues to wreak havoc with racing secretaries plans for writing races on the weeds.  Saturday saw steady rain and a sloppy track as The $50,000 Crank It Up Stakes, moved from the Haskell Turf Course to the main track, was won by Robert Braunsdorf and Robert Levine’s, Follow Me Home, with Julian Pimentel in the irons.  Saturday’s co-feature was The $60,000 Post Deb Stakes, which was won by Bobby Barnett trainee, Lake Kinneret, with Chuck C. Lopez aboard.  With the win Lake Kinneret runs her record to three of seven lifetime with earnings of over $70,00 and extends her current win streak to three consecutive wins. 

Sunday’s co-features were The $60,000 Longfellow Stakes, on the main track at six furlongs for three-year-olds and upward, and The $50,000 Santo Lalomia Handicap, for fillies and mares three and up, at one mile on the main track.  The Longfellow saw New Farm’s, It’s A Monster, cruise to victory, with Joe Bravo in the irons, giving the four-year-old gelded son of Meadow Monster his sixth victory in eleven lifetime starts earning over $180,000.  Joe Bravo then took the second half of the co-featured events riding the Jamie Woodington trainee, Willie’s Luv, to victory defending her title in The Santo Lalomia Handicap.  In her second start at the Monmouth oval this summer, the four-year-old bay filly by Williamstown, out of Dixie Fever, ran her record to four wins in seven lifetime starts at Monmouth and has now earned over $200,000. 

The National Thoroughbred Racing Association's Summer Pick 3, a bet comprising three stakes at three different tracks, will be part of Monmouth's betting menu on Saturday.

The Pick 3, a $1 minimum wager, will have Monmouth's $300,000 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap as the last race, with a post time of 5:44 p.m. It follows the Mother Goose Stakes from Belmont and the Arlington Classic from Arlington Park.

The first event has a post time of 5:12 p.m. and the second goes off at 5:27 p.m. The Pick 3 will be offered as part of the Belmont racing card, as Race 9.

The races will be televised live as part of a one-hour show on the CBS network that starts at 5 p.m. Caton Bredar, Randy Moss.


Twenty-two days of the Monmouth Park summer meeting are in the books, and the leader boards have a very familiar face along with two newcomers to the Oceanport racetrack leading the way.

Joe Bravo, eight-time leading rider, shows the way with 30 wins, 10 more than the pair of Chuck C. Lopez and Jeremy Rose.  Julian Pimentel is fourth with 18 wins, followed by Jose C. Ferrer who's piloted home 13 winners.

The trainer's race has a fresh face at Monmouth in front in Mark Shuman, runaway winner of the Gulfstream Park trainer's title this year.  Shuman has 15 winners; four more than Ben Perkins Jr., top trainer at the 2000 meet.  In third is Tim Hills, last year's leader, with eight wins, one more than Alan Seewald.  Tied for fifth are Richard Dutrow, John Tammaro III and James Ryerson, each with six victories.

The owner's race also has a new face showing the way, Michael Gill.  From 96 starters, Gill has 19 wins at the meet.  In second is New Farm, who has five wins from 11 starts, followed by the pair of Eddie Broome and Runnin Horse Farms, Inc., each with four trips to the winner's circle.

In other horseman's news, Ben Perkins Jr. was named Chili's "Horseman of the Week" after sending out two winners, including It's A Monster to take the $60,000 Longfellow Stakes on Sunday's card.

- NJSEA To Pitch for Breeders’ Cup 2007

On June 20 in Lexington, Kentucky, representatives from the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority made a presentation to lure the running of the 2007 edition of the Breeders’ Cup to the Garden State.  The 45-minute power point presentation was submitted to fifteen individuals from the Breeders’ Cup Ltd. executive committee and combined National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Breeders’ Cup management team.  A decision on the 2007 venue should be announced before the end of 2004 according to a spokesman for the Breeders’ Cup.

-Zavata Hits The Beach

By Mike Farrell - Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N. J. - Zavata adds star power to the Thursday card at Monmouth Park.

A Phone Trick colt who was one of the early-season juvenile sensations last year, he heads to the Jersey Shore for the second start of his 2003 campaign. Trainer Patrick Biancone entered Zavata in the $41,000 optional claiming race at six furlongs in an effort to get the horse back on the winning track.

His lone start this year came at Belmont Park; a tiring fifth-place finish in the slop on May 24.

"He doesn't like the slop at all," Biancone said. "I didn't know it was going to rain that much. He came back from the race a little sore on his feet but he's going good now."

Zavata got a delayed start as he recovered from a hind ankle injury suffered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He was pulled up around the far turn in a disappointing finish to a season that started so promisingly.

The colt received ample time to rest and recover.

"That's why he got the rest of last year off and the first half of this year as well," Biancone said. "He's a very talented horse and we've rested him getting ready for a good second half of the year."

Zavata was an immediate sensation last year. He debuted in the Three Chimneys Juvenile on Derby Day at Churchill Downs and rallied for second. He then reeled off three straight wins: a maiden special weight and the Grade 3, $100,000 Tremont Stakes at Belmont Park and the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special at Saratoga. He closed out his Saratoga season with a third-place finish behind the unbeaten Sky Mesa in the Grade 1, $200,000 Hopeful Stakes.

He started once more, in the Breeders' Cup.

Tony Farina gets the mount on Zavata who carries low weight in the race at 112 pounds. Zavata joins Rockin On Ready as the only 3-year-olds in the field of nine.

It will be interesting to see how many runners remain in the contest after Zavata's unexpected entry.

Michael Gill, the meet's leading owner, has a pair in the race: River Power, a New Jersey-bred claimed out of a winning effort for $35,000 who will run for a $40,000 claiming price, and Skip a Grade who cuts back to a sprint after finishing last in a Belmont allowance route.

Trainer Linda Rice entered Electoral College, a consistent horse who won his last three starts, all at Tampa Bay Downs. Electoral College loved Monmouth last summer, as he posted two wins and second in three starts at the meet.

Vinemeister, Jack N Gin, Slew Marshal, and Hard Delivery complete the field.



Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

June 1-16, 2003

*On Wednesday, June 11, Barclay Tagg, trainer of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, Funny Cide, confirmed that he will be bringing the three-year-old gelding to Monmouth Park for the Haskell Invitational to be held on Sunday, August 3.  The long-range goal for the classic winner will be the Haskell, where he probably will compete against a field including Ten Most Wanted, Peace Rules and Sky Mesa.  Then he will seek a rematch with Empire Maker in The Travers at Saratoga, followed by The Jockey Club Gold Cup and The Breeders’ Cup Classic.  In participating in the Haskell the owners, Sackatoga Stable, and trainer Tagg will each receive an appearance fee of $25,000 apiece for entering the classic winner in the shore oval’s premiere race.  This years event took care of the fee issue by writing the fee into the conditions to avoid the controversy that was sparked last year when Bob Baffert received a similar appearance fee for bringing War Emblem to the 2002 edition of the Haskell.

*Thoroughbred Times is reporting that a team from Monmouth Park will be in Lexington, Kentucky on June 20 to pitch Monmouth Park as the host site for the 2007 edition of the Breeders' Cup.  The 2007 edition of the series is the next open date as dates for the next four events are as follows:

-Santa Anita 2003

-Lone Star Park 2004

-Belmont Park 2005

-Churchill Downs 2006


*After being postponed for the first twelve days of the meeting the first grass races were run on the Monmouth Turf course on Wednesday, June 11.  The first grass races of the season were split divisions of a maiden claimer for horses entered from $30,000 to $40,000. Helmsman's Hellion won the first such contest, with Nick Santagata in the irons for trainer Gary Caple while Biagio won the other division under Jose C. Ferrer for trainer Alan Seewald.

*On Sunday, June 15, apprentice Michael Baze scored his first ever Monmouth Park win on the day's third race aboard Internet Boy [$8.40] for trainer Ed Gaudet.

'I always keep trying my hardest and hope everything goes well,' said Baze, a 10 pound bug boy.  'Today, I finally got one.'

It was the 4th career win for the 16-year-old Baze, who was riding in Southern California before shifting his tack to New Jersey for the Monmouth meet.


Monmouth Weekend Recap & News and Notes

May 29-June 1, 2003

Weekend Recap

Yet another soggy weekend on the weeds forced all racing to the main track as the meet has yet to see its first turf race of the season.  The weekend racing included The Revidere Stakes, which saw six fillies compete at one mile on the main track labeled muddy.  Michael Gill’s City Fire, wired the field en route to a two and one-half length score returning her supporters $4.00, 2.80 and 2.20.  The three-year-old bay filly by Carson City is now 6 of 14 lifetime having earned over $160,000.  Sunday saw New Farm’s homebred Uphill Skier roll to victory for trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. and jockey Joe Bravo in The $50,000 Open Mind Handicap.  The three-year-old bay filly by Appealing Skier covered the six furlongs on a sloppy main track in a final time of 1:11.09 going gate to wire beating eight other rivals by six and three-quarter lengths.  As the betting favorite, Uphill Skier returned 3.40, 2.60, and 2.40 for the win and upped her record to 4 of 5 lifetime with career earnings of over $111,000.

In related news and notes:

The first full week of racing concluded at the shore oval and some things are already apparent:

-  Jockey Jeremy Rose, the 24-year-old Eclipse Award winner, who was a regular on the Delaware and Maryland circuit, is applying his trade here at the shore oval this summer.  Riding first call for controversial owner Michael Gill, Rose has amassed seven winners from the first six days of riding, good for second in the jockey standings behind leader Joe Bravo.  All winners were from the barn of Gill including his first Monmouth stakes winner, City Fire, in the $50,000 Revidere Stakes.

-  If there is any appearance of being rusty then Joe Bravo is certainly doing a good job to conceal it as he has taken to the lead quickly in the jockey standings winning 12 of his first 41 starts, good for first place in the standings.  His horses have earned $389,895 through the first seven days of riding.

-  On Friday (May 30) New Farm’s, Wild Wildcat, broke his maiden at first asking in the third race, a $35,000 Maiden Special event at five furlongs over a fast main track.  The homebred son of Forest Wildcat went gate to wire winning by six and one-quarter lengths at the wire with jockey Joe Bravo on board.

Finally, apprentice jockey Michael Baze, the 16 year-old cousin of Hall of Fame jockey Russell Baze, has joined the already crowded jockey colony here at the shore leaving Hollywood Park to pursue riding on the east coast.

Racing resumes on Wednesday, June 11, 2003 with a 12:55 p.m. post.



Monmouth News and Notes

Opening Weekend - May 24-26, 2003

Oceanport, N.J. - Monmouth Park opened its 58th season of racing Saturday, May 24, featuring the 30th running of the $100,000 Red Bank Handicap (G3) at one mile on the main track.  On the opening day under card, Race 7 The $50,000 Gilded Time Stakes, saw three year olds go five furlongs on the main track while New Jersey breds three and up went six furlongs on the main track contesting the $50,000 John J. Reilly Stakes.  Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the weatherman to cooperate as the opening day weekend was a washout and all turf races were forced to the main track. 

Saturday evening turned out to be one of some interest as it was discovered that Bobby Frankel’s star three-year-old, Empire Maker, was entered in Monday’s feature the Grade III Jersey Derby.  The news caught many off guard and did not give the Monmouth management much time to promote the coming of one of 2003’s Triple Crown stars.  However, on Sunday morning Frankel had worked the confirmed Belmont starter over the Belmont turf course in a five-furlong work erasing any thought of actually running in the Monmouth race.  Frankel had initially entered the Juddmonte Farm homebred in the Jersey Derby because the colt needed some “serious exercise” before the Belmont on June 7 and in order to get one more breeze in him before the third leg of the Triple Crown he had to work the colt this weekend and the main track at Belmont, and for that matter every track in the north east, came up sloppy.  NYRA accommodated Frankel to work his horse on Belmont’s turf course after Christophe Clement worked Dynever and another one of his horses over the same course. 

Sunday saw fillies and mares, three and up, go five furlongs over the off going on the main track in the $50,000 Thomas J. Malley Stakes.  Sunday’s tenth race the $60,000 Frisk Me Know Stakes had three-year-olds and up go one mile and seventy yards, also on the main track.  The track by Sunday afternoon had been upgraded to good but Sunday night and Monday morning saw heavy rains, which reduced the track back to a sloppy label.   Monday’s (5/26) feature was the Grade III Jersey Derby that was originally schedule for three-year-olds at one and one sixteenth miles on the Monmouth Park turf course but the weather forced the race to the main track.

In all 124 horses were scheduled to run on the opening day card.  A number of scratches were made before and during the weekend cards, which will most likely affect the graded status of the stakes run, after a formal review by the North American Graded Stakes Committee.  Monmouth was sent warnings letters earlier this year regarding the status of many of its events.  Unfortunately, there was nothing the track management could do about the opening weekend weather.  Monmouth Park will offer a 92-day meet with $300,000 in daily overnight purses, an all-time record high for New Jersey tracks. With the addition of stakes purses, the average daily purse distribution will top $335,000.  Monmouth’s meet runs through August 30 and will offer 13 graded stakes races worth $3.25-million. In addition to the Haskell, Monmouth Park will host the United Nations Handicap (G1) on July 5, which received a purse increase from $250,000 to $750,000 this season.  See the stakes calendar on the Monmouth Park page for the results of all the opening weekend action.




By MATT HEGARTY, Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - The rain that deluged the Northeast coast the entire Memorial Day weekend will likely wash off the turf races at Monmouth Park until Saturday or Sunday, track racing officials said Monday.

"We can only hope that the sun comes out," said Robert Kulina, Monmouth's vice president of racing. "You need sun and wind. That's the only thing that will dry it out."

Monmouth moved all its turf races to the dirt on opening weekend, including its two graded stakes, the Grade 3 Red Bank Handicap on Saturday, opening day, and the Grade 3 Jersey Derby on Monday. For a brief time on Saturday, the rain played into Monmouth's favor when Bobby Frankel unexpectedly entered the Kentucky Derby runner-up, Empire Maker, in the Jersey Derby because of the poor condition of Belmont Park's dirt course in New York. But Frankel opted on Sunday to train Empire Maker over the turf at Belmont instead of running in New Jersey.

"It was something we weren't counting on to start off with, so it wasn't that hard to take," Kulina said, referring to Frankel's decision to work the horse in New York. "It generated a little excitement."

The wet weather had other impacts on the opening weekend as well.

Attendance was well below Monmouth's average three-day opening, with 12,367 on Saturday, 15,642 on Sunday, and 9,810 on Monday, for a total of 37,819. The typical average is approximately 50,000 for opening weekend, according to Bruce Garland, the track's senior vice president.

Racing officials said that they were pleased with the results, however, considering that tracks all along the East Coast were hurt by the storm. They also said that ontrack handle on Monmouth's races and simulcasts on Saturday and Sunday was up compared to last year.

"We're actually fortunate to even get the day in today considering the weather this morning," Kulina said Monday. "We probably had two of the three biggest ontrack crowds at any track this weekend, so you have to be pleased with that."

Horsemen supported the card heavily over the first three days, entering 340 horses for 35 races, or 9.7 a race. Scratches, though, reduced that number by 78 over the three cards, driving the average down to 7.5.

Thursday's feature, a $40,000, one-mile optional claiming race, was still listed for the turf as of Monday, but the race will almost certainly be moved to the dirt. The race drew a consistent group of allowance and high-priced claiming horses, including Northern Fantasy, Thunder Chief, Powerful Appeal, and also-eligibles Coco's Madness and Casino Raider.



May 28, 2002 - ORR

Thoroughbred Times is reporting that The American Graded Stakes Committee has decided not to reinstate the Grade III status of The Red Bank Handicap run at Monmouth on opening day May 24, 2003.  The 30th running of The Red Bank was originally scheduled at one mile over the turf course for three-year-olds and upward.

Any graded races taken off the turf are required by policy of The American Graded Stakes Committee to be downgraded one level thus leaving The Red Bank without a grade for the 2003 season. 





©2000-2003 Oceanport Racing  All rights reserved.