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   News & Notes - Finish Wire

             MONMOUTH PARK 2008

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September 24, 2008
GREAT PATRIOT GETS A CHANCE TO SHINE IN FUTURITY SATURDAY
Monmouth Park.com

One of the few true futurities left in the nation will be renewed at Monmouth on Saturday with the seventh running of the $200,000 Monmouth Park NATC Futurity, with separate divisions for colts and fillies.

The races, sponsored by the National Association of Two-Year-Old Consignors, are restricted to juveniles who were cataloged in 2008, and whose owners have paid all the fees.

The futurity premise relies a great deal on hopes and dreams - and a little realistic handicapping -- because sustaining payments must be made on a regular basis before some of the 2-year-olds even begin to breeze. All told, the nominating and sustaining fees come to $1,000 for each horse, with an additional $1,000 to enter and $1,000 to start.

But when the gamble pays off, a trainer can be sitting pretty, and right now it looks like Tim Hills is perched in the catbird seat.

Hills will send out Patriot Stable's Great Patriot in the six-furlong colt division. The bay son of first-crop sire During surprised a lot of people - including his trainer - when he broke his maiden at Monmouth on Aug. 17.

Great Patriot broke from the rail that day, never the best spot for a first-time starter, but overcame the inside post to score a game half-length victory. He lit up the tote board to the tune of $55.40.

"He surprised us all," Hills said. "I don't think I've ever had a 2-year-old go off at those odds."

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September 24, 2008
NORMAN POINTER BACK AT MONMOUTH - AS AN ASSISTANT
Monmouth Park.com

Norman Pointer, who enjoyed several successful seasons at Monmouth before health problems kept him away last year, is back for a while, but this time as an "assistant" to his son, trainer Tom.

The Pointers brought 11 horses in from Penn National, in Grantville, Pa., where the racing surface is undergoing a major renovation.

"I'm just here as the chief cook and bottle washer," Norman said. "My son has a farm near Penn National and he's training the horses now. I named myself his assistant. But I'm feeling great and I'm happy to be back."

Pointer won stakes at Monmouth seven years in a row with such runners as My Jeff's Mombo, Hotstufanthensome, and Rize, who took the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap in 2000.

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September 24, 2008
LOPEZ, DE CARLO KICK OFF COMEBACKS WITH MONMOUTH WINS
Monmouth Park.com

Jockeys Chuck C. Lopez and Chris DeCarlo, who had been sidelined for extended periods, returned to the winner's circle last week as they began comebacks from injuries.

DeCarlo, who had not ridden since last November because of shoulder surgery, scored with his second mount back, guiding Morgans Run to victory in Friday's second race. Morgans Run, who paid $11 to win, is trained by Todd Pletcher. Last season, Pletcher and DeCarlo combined for seven stakes victories at Monmouth.

Lopez, who was out for more than 17 weeks after suffering a fractured heel in May, scored with his very first comeback mount, guiding Juke Bocks Hero to victory in Saturday's third race. Juke Bocks Hero, who paid $10, is trained by Bruce Alexander.

Both riders hope to be in the midst of the jockeys race at the upcoming Meadowlands meeting.

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September 23, 2008
ONE WEEK TO GO AS LEZCANO, LEVINE AND REPOLE SHOW THE WAY
Monmouth Park.com
 

With 95 of the 100 days of racing at the 2008 Monmouth meet in the books, the races for top honors come Sunday’s final race appear to be in the bag for jockey Jose Lezcano and trainer Bruce Levine.  The contest for leading owner remains a close one between Repole Stable, Eddie Broome and Patricia Generazio.

From 539 mounts, Lezcano has visited the winner’s circle 133 times, good for a 25% win clip.  Eddie Castro is second with 112 victories as 13-time leading Monmouth rider Joe Bravo is third with 88 victories.  Stewart Elliott is fourth with 71 wins, ten more than the pair of C.H. Marquez Jr. and Elvis Trujillo.

In the race for top trainer, Bruce Levine is way out in front with 51 wins, 19 more than Jason Servis.  Eddie Brome is third with 28 victories, six more than the trio of Tim Hills, Rick Dutrow Jr. and Eddie Plesa Jr.

The contest for top honor has Repole Stable showing the way with 20 wins, two more than Eddie Broome, who has two wins more than Patricia Generazio.

Monmouth Park’s final five days of racing for the 2008 season will be Wednesday through Sunday.  As always gates open at 11:30 a.m. with first post set at 12:50 p.m.

Awards for this seasons top jockey, trainer and owner will be presented this Sunday in winner’s circle ceremonies.
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September 23, 2008
FAN APPRECIATION DAY CLOSES 2008 MEET THIS SUNDAY
Monmouth Park.com


The 2008 Monmouth Park meeting will come to a close this Sunday, Sept. 28, and the racetrack will celebrate another successful season with Fan Appreciation Day featuring free grandstand and half-price clubhouse admission.

Also on tap to close out the 2008 meet will be Family Fun Day activities with clowns, pony rides, face painters, bounce houses and more to entertain the kids.

Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with first post set for 12:50 p.m.
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September 21, 2008
DELOSVIENTOS SETS TRACK RECORD IN POINT GIVEN STAKES VICTORY
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - A day after jockey Eddie Castro won five races, including two stakes, he seized the top prize once again with The Big Stable's Delosvientos in the $100,000 Point Given Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

Delosvientos assumed the lead shortly after the start in the 12-furlong, three-turn feature, and he never relented that position in a scratch-reduced field of four. His final time of 2:31.12 also set a track record at the rarely-run distance, shaving two-fifths from the previous mark, set by Malibu Moonshine on June 10, 2006.

Delosvientos, the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap winner in June, entered the Point Given Stakes as the class of the field, especially after the scratch of Grade 1-winner Evening Attire on Sunday morning. In the small field, Castro was able to dictate the pace, and although he was pressed by Phil the Power most of the way, Delosvientos had enough in reserve to stay clear of that rival in the lane. The final margin of victory was 3 1/2 lengths. Phil the Power finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Sam P.

"We were getting pressed for a little bit, but it didn't take too much of a toll on my horse," Castro said. "He really dug in for me and held off Phil the Power all the way to the wire."

Delosvientos paid $2.80 and $2.10 as the 2-5 favorite. He topped a $6.80 exacta with Phil the Power. There was no trifecta or show wagering.

This was the third stakes victory of the year for Delosvientos. He rebounded nicely from a ninth-place finish in the Grade 1 Pacific Classic at Del Mar in his last start. Giuseppe Iadisernia trains the 5-year-old gelded son of Siphon-Secret Psalm, by Cryptoclearance.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday for the final week of the 100-day 2008 meet.

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September 21,2008
HEY CHUB WINS LINCROFT HANDICAP; CASTRO WINS OTHER TWO STAKES ON FIVE-WIN DAY; SEER WINS INAUGURAL STEEPLECHASE STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - At Monmouth Park on Saturday's New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival, a program that offered 10 races exclusively for New Jersey-bred horses, Hey Chub took the Lincroft Handicap, Paradise Tonight won the Jersey Girl Handicap, and the Eleven North Handicap went to Way With Words. Eddie Castro won the latter two stakes as part of a five-win performance. In the Monmouth County Hunt Novice Stakes, Seer prevailed in a photo finish.

In the $75,000 Lincroft Handicap, 8-year-old Hey Chub made his last race a memorable one. After the victory, Hey Chub's connections reported the Lincroft was his final race.

He stalked a swift pace and wore down Bythebeautifulsea to win the six-furlong event. Who's the Cowboy, the 4-5 favorite, uncorked his late rally but could not catch the winner. Hey Chub finished one-half length ahead of Who's the Cowboy, who edged Bythebeautifulsea by a head.

Hey Chub, third choice in the five-horse field, paid $9.20, $3.80, $2.20 across the board and topped a $20.40 exacta with Who's the Cowboy. The trifecta paid $14.60 for a $1 wager. Hey Chub and jockey Carlos Marquez crossed the wire in 1:10 over a fast main track.

Said Marquez: "We knew there was a lot of speed in this race so the plan was to settle just off the early leaders and try to save as much horse...as I could for the last sixteenth because Who's the Cowboy always comes running at the end. My horse dug in so we can hold him off."

Hey Chub broke sharply, and Marquez guided him to the outside of pacesetter Primal Impact and Bythebeautifulsea heading into the final turn. Primal Impact dropped back along the rail, and Hey Chub and Bythebeautifulsea battled to the wire. Hey Chub gradually drew clear in the final sixteenth of a mile. Who's the Cowboy and jockey Stewart Elliott advanced down the center of the track but couldn't reach the winner in time.

Hey Chub, a son of Carson City-Donna Doo, by Spend a Buck, earned his first win of the year and seventh in a 36-race career. Danny Lopez, his former trainer, owns Hey Chub, and Kathleen Demasi trains him. This is his second stakes victory. He's always been a hard-luck horse, taking the runner-up spot 16 times. Today he had enough to reach the winner's circle.

Eddie Castro won his fifth race of the day aboard George L. Schwartz's Way With Words in the $75,000 Eleven North Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs. It was the second-to-last race of 10 for thoroughbreds.

Way With Words earned her first stakes victory in her first try. Sitting behind a wicked early pace of :21 4/5 and :44 4/5, Castro and his filly stormed past Open Skies in the final furlong to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Open Skies finished well clear of Heckuva Good Time for the runner-up spot. Way With Words stopped the timer in 1:09 on a fast main track. Way With Words paid $5.20, $3.20, and $2.40 and topped a $13 exacta with Open Skies.

Mary Eppler trains Way With Words, a 3-year-old filly out of Defrere-Raspberry Ice, by Stop the Music. Her career record is now 4-3-0 in nine starts; three of her four wins have come over the Monmouth strip.

"This filly has been nothing but professional," Eppler said. "She really seems to like this track. We're going to go to the Meadowlands and give her another chance on turf, probably in the Violet (Grade 3 on Oct. 17)."

Paradise Tonight also made her stakes debut a victorious one when she captured the $75,000 Jersey Girl Handicap. The 3-year-old filly defeated a field of five other fillies and mares at one mile and one-sixteenth on the main track. It was Castro's fourth win on the card.

Castro allowed his filly to coast along behind a pace set by Cat Mistress, who was joined by Talkin About Love down the backstretch. As those two slugged it out in the lane, Paradise Tonight cruised past both in deep stretch. She covered the distance in 1:43 2/5 and defeated Talkin About Love by two lengths. It was a neck back to Cat Mistress.

Paradise Tonight paid $5.20, $2.60, $2.20 to win as the 8-5 favorite. The exacta with second choice Talkin About Love returned $13.60, and a $1 trifecta wager paid $13.50.

Paradise Tonight is owned by J. Wark, F. Anfuso, and her trainer Joe Pierce. Pierce also bred the daughter of Slew Gin Fizz-First Glance, by Salt Lake. She improved her career record to 5-2-2 in 11 starts and could remain a dominant horse in the New Jersey-bred distaff division for years to come.

"We've had a lot of nice Jersey-breds over the years and she's another," Pierce said. "She's good enough to take on open. She beat open in an allowance race already. After the Meadowlands we'll give her the winter off - she's earned it."

In the inaugural Monmouth County Hunt Novice Stakes, a $79,800 Grade 2 Novice steeplechase event, a three-lap race of almost 2 1/4 miles was decided by inches. Seer rallied strongly in the final strides to upset even-money favorite Be Certain by a head. Dr. Bloomer, who led almost the whole way, finished one length and three-quarters back.

Seer was almost squeezed between Be Certain and pacesetter Dr. Bloomer heading over the penultimate fence and entering the final stretch. But jockey Xavier Aizpuru deftly steered Seer to the inside, where he cleared the final fence and outsprinted Be Certain, several paths to his outside, to the wire. The final time was 4:22 2/5.

"I was just hoping the wire was far enough away for us to get there," Aizpuru said. "He ran great."

Seer paid $9.60, $3.60, $3 as the third wagering choice. Be Certain completed the $26.20 exacta. The $1 trifecta paid $129.

Jack O. Fisher trains Seer for Mrs. Rufus M.G. Williams. For Seer, a 4-year-old gelding out of Pulpit-Potrinner, by Potrillazo, this was only his fifth steeplechase start in his first year of jumping the hurdles. This was his first stakes victory, following two narrow defeats at Saratoga.

"He looks like an up-and-comer," Fisher said. "He jumped really well here. That was probably the difference between today and his races at the 'Spa. He was jumping pretty hard on himself up there."

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September 20, 2008
9-YEAR-OLD JERSEY GIANT ENDS MEMORABLE CAREER
Monmouth Park.com

One fine New Jersey-bred that will be missing from the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival today is Jersey Giant, a former stakes winner whose excellent career came to a close this week.

Owner Andrew Kligman retired the 9-year-old gelding on Wednesday after consulting with renowned veterinary surgeon Patty Hogan, DVM. Jersey Giant had become a consistent runner in low-level claiming races the last two years, but his path to this point has been memorable for his connections and longtime fans at Monmouth.

"He is so popular even to this day," Kligman said. "People still come up to me and say he made us money."

Kligman's father, Joel, bred Jersey Giant in 1999, a son of Evening Kris out of Sporty Card-On to Glory, and sent him to trainer Jimmy Ryerson to begin his career in 2001. Joel Kligman has been involved in horse racing for a half-century. Jersey Giant made one start at Monmouth as a juvenile, and the following year he won two races at Monmouth and two at the Meadowlands, three of which were versus statebreds.

In 2003, Jersey Giant won the John J. Reilly Handicap to begin the season, but the New Jersey-bred ranks couldn't hold him after that. He won the Skip Away Stakes and Skip Trial Stakes sandwiched around two narrow defeats in the track's top handicap stakes. He finished a close second in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile and lost a photo for place in the Grade 3 Iselin Handicap.

That summer proved to be the pinnacle of his career. The next year, he strained an ankle tendon in the Grade 3 Ben Ali at Keeneland, the last graded stakes he would start in. His campaigns shortened afterward: he raced twice in 2005 and four times in 2006. Joel Kligman retired him in 2006 as a 7-year-old.

Except that retirement was short lived. Andrew Kligman, now 46, said that he and his father visited Jersey Giant at Piney Glen Farm in Colts Neck in January 2007. Andrew Kligman, who as a teenager worked as a hotwalker for trainer Joe Pierce, said the horse convinced him his career wasn't over yet.

"He put on a show in the snow," Kligman recalled. "He ran up the hill and ran down the hill. He looked at us and it was like he said, 'Have you seen enough?' And we said, 'Let's try to run him again.'"

After a trip to South Carolina to train for his comeback, Jersey Giant returned in June 2007 with Andrew Kligman as owner and John Tammaro as trainer. Two years later, he had won four races in the claiming ranks, and in fact, maintained longer campaigns than he had in his youth. He raced nine times in 2007 and eight times this year.

The highlight, Kligman said, was on the opening weekend of this season's meet. Jersey Giant won a $5,000 claiming race by seven and one-half lengths.

"He won going away like he used to," Kligman said. "It was an awesome performance."

Last week, Kligman said Jersey Giant's arthritic ankle put a final end to his career. His last race was a fourth-place finish on August 23.

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September 18, 2008
JOCKEY CHUCK LOPEZ, OUT SINCE MAY, RIDES AGAIN SATURDAY
Monmouth Park.com

Jockey Chuck C. Lopez, who has been sidelined since he was injured in a training accident here on May 19, will return to riding Saturday, with three mounts on the card.

"It's great to be back," said Lopez, who started galloping horses last Monday. "I missed the whole summer at Monmouth, but I want to get back in action before the Meadowlands starts. I'd like to be leading rider at that meet."

Lopez fractured his left heel in two places when a horse he was riding during training hours reared suddenly and the rider jumped off.

"Next Monday it will be 18 weeks since it happened," Lopez said. "I've been counting the days."

The 48-year-old Lopez, who was Monmouth's leading rider in 1998 when he won 91 races, was riding in top form this spring before he was injured. As the regular rider of Gottcha Gold, he won the Grade 3 Skip Away aboard that colt, and then was beaten a neck by Student Council in the Grade 1 Pimlico Special.

Lopez said he delayed his healing by trying to come back too quickly, aiming to be aboard Gottcha Gold in the July 5 Salvator Mile.

"I was trying to get back into action too fast," he said. "They took the cast off too soon, and it didn't heal properly."

The jockey said he has been undergoing physical therapy for the last nine weeks, and is scheduled to continue for three weeks more.

Lopez is represented by agent Jim Riccio.

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September 17, 2008
WHO'S THE COWBOY WILL MISS JOEY P. IN LINCROFT 'CAP SATURDAY
Monmouth Park.com

Looks like Who's the Cowboy will feel certain loneliness in Saturday's $60,000 Lincroft Handicap, one of the featured events of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival program.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. has indicated that Joey P. will sit this one out, meaning that Who's the Cowboy will be without his archrival for the first time since he won the Colts Neck Handicap in July.

"I think the Cowboy will miss Joey," said Gerry Sleeter, who owns the 6-year-old son of Intensity. "They seem to bring out the best in each other."

Their last meeting, in the Icecapade Stakes on Sept. 1, was classic Cowboy-Joey. They were the only two New Jersey-breds in the field, with Joey P. the 2-1 second choice and Who's the Cowboy the 9-1 outsider.

Joey P. made his move in midstretch, gaining a clear lead at the furlong marker. Meanwhile, Who's the Cowboy was slowly getting into gear for the big late run that has earned him many of his career victories. He was fourth and still more than four lengths behind Joey P. at the eighth pole, and time was running out.

"At that point," said Sleeter, "I wasn't sure if he could get third money."

But the Cowboy was flying, and in the last 100 yards collared Joey P. and stuck his head in front at the wire for his 13th career victory, with six furlongs in a solid 1:09 2/5.

"That was one of his best races ever," said Sleeter.

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September 17, 2008
GAMBOLATI PONDERS NEXT STEP FOR A.P. CARDINAL
Monmouth Park.com

The 2-year-old A.P. Cardinal made his long-awaited and much-anticipated debut at Monmouth on Sunday, and performed like a 1-5 shot should, winning off by three lengths.

With Joe Bravo staying busy the last furlong, the big gray son of A.P. Indy stopped the timer in 1:11 for six furlongs, and trainer Cam Gambolati could breathe a sigh of relief.

Gambolati, who bought the colt for $380,000 from an Adena Springs Farm sale earlier this year, had been prepping A.P. Cardinal for his debut for over four months. The colt had his first work at Monmouth on May 5, and had turned in no fewer than four bullet works during the summer.

"I didn't want to run him short," Gambolati said, explaining why he passed on the short (two to five furlongs) maiden races at Monmouth in June, July and August. "But I also didn't want to start him out in a two-turn race, so I finally decided to start him at six furlongs.

"I won't sprint him again," the trainer said. "And I'm not going to throw him to the wolves. I'll look for a two-turn allowance race for his next start. We'll see how that goes, and then start making plans."

A.P. Cardinal is the first foal out of the Smoke Glacken mare Smok'n Frolic, who won eight stakes (six of them graded) and earned more than $1.5 million racing for trainer Todd Pletcher.

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September 16, 2008
LEZCANO, LEVINE, REPOLE LEAD WITH TWO WEEKS TO GO
Monmouth Park.com

With two weeks of racing remaining in the 2008 season at Monmouth Park, jockey Jose Lezcano, trainer Bruce Levine and owner Repole Stable lead the way in their respective categories for top honors come meet-end on Sept. 28.

From 514 mounts, Lezcano has visited the winner’s circle 124 times, winning at a 24% clip.  Eddie Castro is second with 100 victories, 15 more than Joe Bravo.  Stewart Elliott, with 66 victories, is fourth.  Rounding out the top five is Elvis Trujillo with 61 wins.

In the race for top trainer, Bruce Levine continues atop the leader board, sporting 50 victories from 137 starters.  Jason Servis is second with 31 wins, three more than Eddie Broome.  Tim Hills and Rick Dutrow Jr. are tied in fourth, each with 22 trips to the winner’s circle.

The contest for top owner has Repole Stable in front with 19 wins, one more than Eddie Broome.  Patricia Generazio is third with 15 victories.

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September 16, 2008
NJ THOROUGHBRED FESTIVAL, SHORE CHEF CRAB COOK-OFF SAT.
Monmouth Park.com

The best runners bred in the Garden State will take center stage this Saturday at Monmouth Park as the racetrack hosts the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival, Presented by Malouf Auto Group.  The entire card of flat races will be reserved for New Jersey-breds, including a trio of stakes races.  In addition to the Jersey-bred action, a steeplechase race is also slated for the card.

While the competition on the track will be fierce, so too will the action behind the grandstand as the areas top chefs compete in the Shore Chef Crab Cook-Off.  Fans can enjoy food from the Shore’s best chefs and vote on their favorite crab cake.

Also on Saturday will be a T-shirt giveaway commemorating the Thoroughbred Festival.  T-shirts are to all paid admissions, while supply lasts.

For both Saturday and Sunday this week, it’s Family Fun Day featuring clowns, pony rides, bounce houses and more to entertain the kids.

Live racing at Monmouth Park continues through Sunday, Sept. 28.
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September 14, 2008
SUNDAY STAKES GO TO COZZI CAPITAL, PARIS WINDS & J Z WARRIOR
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Cozzi Capital closed with a rush to capture the first division of the $70,000 Revidere Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday as Paris Winds came home on top in the second division.  Earlier in the day the Bill Mott-trained J Z Warrior, the 3-10 favorite, ran away from her competition in taking the $60,000 Light Hearted Stakes by nine lengths.

Trained by Herman Wilensky, Cozzi Capital went the mile and a sixteenth over a turf course rated "good" in 1:41 2/5 and returned $8.40, $4.40 and $3.20 in the field of nine older fillies and mares.  It was a nose back to Oh Deanne O, who completed the $57.40 exacta and paid $8 and $4.  Diamond Dina, the pacesetter, was another length and a quarter back in third, good for a $6.40 show mutuel.

"On the turn, I was just waiting for room so I could pull the trigger," said winning jockey Carlos H. Marquez Jr.  "Once I did pull the trigger, she just kicked it in gamely for me and dug in until the wire."

The Revidere win was the first in five starts this season for Cozzi Capital, who races in the colors of D and E Horses and Herman Wilensky.

Paris Winds bided her time early before unleashing a furious stretch drive to run down Audacious Chloe in the second division of the $70,000 Revidere Stakes, drawing off to a 2 1/2 length score.  The Bill Mott-trainee covered the mile and a sixteenth over good turf in 1:41 1/5 and paid $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the favorite.  Audacious Chloe paid $3.20 and $2.40 and completed the $7.80 exacta.  Trensa was another length back in third and paid $2.80 to show.

"This is a real nice filly," said winning jockey Joe Bravo. "I took her off the pace and got her to relax. When I called on her to run, she just took off."

Paris Winds, an Irish-bred daughter of Galileo from the Kris mare Lil's Jessy, scored for the third time in seven starts this year.

J Z Warrior, a daughter of Harlan's Holiday, covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:08 4/5 and returned $2.60, $2.10 and $2.10 as the odds-on choice in the filed of five 3-year-old lasses.  Lucky Mia rallied to complete an $8.40 exacta and paid $4.60 and $3.40.  It was another three lengths back to Picturemewithroses, who returned $3.60 to show.

"Bill Mott sent this real nice filly over to rock and roll this afternoon," said winning jockey Joe Bravo.  "I was surprised to see how fast we went because she was running effortlessly.  She did it real easily and I enjoyed the ride."

Sunday's win marked the third in 10 starts for J Z Warrior, who has now earned $174,913 for owner Zayat Stables, LLC.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Wednesday, Sept. 17 - first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2008 season runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

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September 13, 2008
BIG BROWN GAMELY HOLDS OFF PROUDINSKY BY NECK TO CAPTURE $500,000 MONMOUTH STAKES ON TURF; SHAKIS RALLIES FOR 3RD
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Big Brown thrilled a crowd of 17,047 at Monmouth Park Saturday, displaying championship form as he dug in gamely when challenged to win the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes Presented by IEAH Stables by a neck over the hard-charging Proudinsky.

Big Brown, who had just about locked up the 3-year-old title by winning the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational earlier this season, defeated older horses for the first time in the inaugural running of the Monmouth Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the turf.

The race served as a prep for Big Brown's next challenge, the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Jockey Kent Desormeaux put the son of Boundary on engine from the start, and Big Brown entered the stretch with a clear lead. The closers came after him in the final furlong, with Proudinsky getting within a head before Big Brown responded to the challenge and fought back bravely to hold his rival safe to the wire.

Big Brown, sent off the 3-5 favorite in the field of nine, paid $3.20, $2.60 and $2.20 across the board. He topped an $11.40 exacta with Proudinsky, who went off the second choice at 5-2 and paid $3 to place and $2.40 to show. Shakis, who finished just a half-length behind Proudinsky, paid $2.80 to show.

The winner, trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., set all the fractions over a turf course labeled "good" after overnight rains. With Get Serious chasing him most of the first mile, he ran the quarter in :23 2/5, the half in :46 4/5 and the six furlongs in 1:11 1/5. Big Brown hit the furlong pole in 1:35 1/5 for the mile, and then finished up in 1:47 2/5, sharp time considering the softened condition of the course.

Big Brown earned a prize of $300,000 for his owners - the partnership of IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen and Pegasus Holdings Group. That brought his career earnings to $3,576,700.
Desormeaux, who has been aboard in all of Big Brown's races this year, was thrilled by today's effort.

"Except for his last race, the Haskell, I've never asked him to break," the rider said. "Today when the gates opened, I chirped at him and he responded. It made a huge difference going into that first turn when that other horse (Get Serious) left his side. When that happened, he focused and calmed down.

"I think he showed you what kind of heart he's got. When Proudinsky did get to his neck, I knew we had him. My horse just resurged and kept digging all the way to the wire.

"I think he's ready today," Desormeaux said of the next challenge. "If the Breeders' Cup were today, he would be ready. He's come full circle since whatever happened in the Belmont Stakes."

Trainer Dutrow was proud of Big Brown's display of courage.

"I thought they were going to pass him," Dutrow said, "he put in so much effort early on. He's got a lot of heart and determination. Everything good about the racing game we saw today.

"This race was not the end of the world for us, but we needed it for timing for the next race. To win it was great. Now we can go to the next race with confidence. All he needs to do is like that track (synthetic surface at Santa Anita)."

Michael Iavarone, co-CEO of IEAH Stables, said, "The way he dug down this afternoon showed his true heart and his true courage. There is nothing he can do that will surprise me any more.

"I got a little worried after the quick early fractions, especially with that horse (Get Serious) rating in just behind him. In the lane, I watched the way Kent was riding and once I saw he was still riding with confidence, I was able to relax."

Ramon Dominguez, who rode Proudinsky, said, "We got a good trip and I thought I was going to get to him in the lane. But once he felt me to his side, he just dug in. We got up to his head and he just fought right back."

Joe Bravo, who rode Shakis, also thought he had a shot at victory.

"At the top of the lane, I thought I was going to get Big Brown. When the horse got to him, he just fought right back. He didn't care that he was tired, he just wanted to beat the horses to his outside.

"I underestimated Big Brown," Bravo said. "Until today, when he showed what kind of horse he is."

 
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September 13, 2008
ELVIS TRUJILLO SUFFERS FRACTURED WRIST IN FALL
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jockey Elvis Trujillo suffered a fractured right wrist in a spill at Monmouth on Friday and will undergo surgery next week, according to his agent, Cliff Collier.

Trujillo was aboard Carson Hall in the seventh race on turf Friday. As he came into the clubhouse turn, the rider's feet apparently slipped out of the irons, and he fell, injuring his wrist.

"They'll wait for the swelling to go down and perform the surgery next week," said Collier. "We'll find out after that exactly how long he'll be out, but I think it will be six to eight weeks."

Trujillo, who came to Monmouth from Kentucky midway through the summer meeting, had moved into the top five riders here with 61 winners through Friday's program.

Trujillo was out three months early this year, also with an injury to his right wrist.

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September 12, 2008
BIG BROWN FAVORED OVER 10 OLDER RIVALS IN SATURDAY'S $500,000 MONMOUTH STAKES ON TURF; SHAKIS LOOMS MAIN FOE
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Big Brown, who has just about locked up the 3-year-old title with his four Grade 1 victories this year, will be thoroughly tested Saturday when he meets older horses for the first time in the inaugural running of the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes Presented by IEAH Stables.

A field of 11 was entered for the mile and an eighth turf test, which goes as the ninth event on a 10-race program with a probable post time of 4:48 p.m. The Monmouth Stakes will be televised on TVG, with the special program starting at 4:30 p.m.

Big Brown, who will be racing on grass for the first time since he broke his maiden at Saratoga last year, goes from Post 4 with regular rider Kent Desormeaux in the irons. He was installed the 2-1 morning line favorite by Monmouth handicapper Brad Thomas.

The colt by Boundary has been favored in every start except his first, winning the Florida Derby, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational as the choice. He was 3-10 in the Belmont Stakes when he was pulled up, suffering his only career loss.

Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. says he is using the Monmouth Stakes as Big Brown's primary prep for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic, to be run over the synthetic track at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

IEAH Stables acquired a 75 percent interest in Big Brown after the colt broke his maiden last September, with original owner Paul Pompa Jr. retaining a share. Other partners in the ownership of Big Brown are Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen and the Pegasus Holdings Group.

But the fact that Big Brown has won six of seven starts and has already proven he likes the grass, did not shorten the size of the field. In a demonstration of "who's afraid of Big Brown?" thinking, a solid field was gathered to take on the youngster.

The older horses entered are a salty bunch, with back class to spare. Many are graded stakes winners, and most have been successful at a mile and an eighth on the turf.

Shadwell Stable's Shakis is seen as the main threat to Big Brown. The 8-year-old Irish-bred, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, won the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch Handicap at Saratoga last out, and will be the 7-2 second choice on the morning line.

A multiple graded stakes winner, Shakis has a lifetime record of 7-4-4 in 31 starts on the grass, and has won three of 13 at a mile and an eighth. Joe Bravo, who has won 13 riding titles at Monmouth, has the mount for the first time.

Third favorite on the morning line at 4-1 is Gary Tanaka's Proudinsky, a German-bred son of Silvano trained by Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. The 5-year-old won a Grade 2 stakes on turf at Fair Grounds in March, but had some foot problems and finished 11th in the Grade 1 Manhattan in June. Last out, he finished sixth behind Shakis in the Baruch, but was beaten less than two lengths after encountering traffic trouble. Ramon Dominguez has the mount.

Peter Vegso's Silver Tree, who owns a sterling 14-10-4 record in 39 starts on the grass, has already shown he can handle Monmouth's turf course. The 8-year-old, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, won the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes here last out. Eddie Castro will ride Silver Tree, who is fourth choice on the line at 6-1 despite his outside (11) post.

The others entered, from the rail out, are Kirk Sheehan's Nightscape, Emilio Flores, 30-1; Main Street Stable's Hotstufanthensome, Jose Lezcano, 12-1; Amy Tarrant's Kiss the Kid, Elvis Trujillo, 10-1; Dogwood Stable's Drum Major, Kendrick Carmouche, 8-1; James Dinan & Jacques Moore's Get Serious, Pablo Fragoso, 15-1; Salvatore Racing Stable's Fagedaboudit Sal, Pedro Cotto Jr., 30-1, and Mac Fehsenfeld's Ballonenostrikes, Daniel Centeno, 20-1.

There are five Monmouth-based horses entered, with Kiss the Kid and Hotstufanthensome the most prominent.

Kiss the Kid, trained by Tarrant, has won on both turf and dirt at Monmouth, and last out was third behind Honest Man and Grasshopper in the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes.

Hotstufanthensome, an 8-year-old trained by Terri Pompay, has a record of 6-5-1 in 14 starts on the Monmouth grass, and was beaten just a neck and a head when third to Silver Tree in the Oceanport Stakes. Last out, he dropped back to a mile in the Grade 3 Red Bank and finished sixth.

Get Serious, Fagedaboudit Sal and Ballonenostrikes have all won on the Monmouth grass.

Pat McBurney trains Get Serious, a 4-year-old son of City Zip who has taken his last two on grass here, both allowance races.

Ballonenostrikes, trained by Dennis Manning, is winless this year, but has been in the money in 10 of 16 career trips on the Monmouth grass.

Fagedaboudit Sal made a memorable turf debut for trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. in the Bob Harding Stakes here on July 12, when he went wire-to-wire to beat Kiss the Kid as the longest shot on the board at 39-1. The New Jersey-bred finished seventh in the Red Bank last out.

Drum Major, a 6-year-old trained by George Weaver, finished third behind Shakis in the 2007 running of the Baruch, and then was out for a year. He returned in this season's running of the Baruch and was seventh behind Shakis.

Nightscape, trained by Charles DeMario, ships in from Delaware. His last victory came at Penn National in August when he beat $25,000 claimers.

The complete field for the Monmouth Stakes in post position order:

1 - Nightscape, Emilio Flores, 30-1
2 - Hotstufanthensome, Jose Lezcano, 12-1
3 - Shakis, Joe Bravo, 7-2
4 - Big Brown, Kent Desormeaux, 2-1
5 - Kiss the Kid, Elvis Trujillo, 10-1
6 - Proudinsky, Ramon Dominguez, 4-1
7 - Drum Major, Kendrick Carmouche, 8-1
8 - Get Serious, Pablo Fragoso, 15-1
9 - Fagedaboudit Sal, Pedro Cotto Jr., 30-1
10 - Ballonenostrikes, Daniel Centeno, 20-1
11 - Silver Tree, Eddie Castro, 6-1

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September 10, 2008
FRENCH RIDER CAPTURES AMATEUR RACE AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Despite losing his irons in deep stretch, French rider Paul-Henri de Quatrebarbes guided Jay Em Ess Stable's Maven to an 11-length victory in the Amateur Riders Club of America event at Monmouth Park on Wednesday.

Maven, trained by Rick Dutrow Jr., went off the 7-10 favorite in the maiden claiming event, which went off as the second race on the card. The race was part of the FEGENTRI World Championship of Gentlemen Riders competition.

Maven raced the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:47 and paid $3.40, $2.60 and $2.20 across the board.
Tiger's Roar, the longest shot in the field at 35-1 with Belgian rider Jonathan Delatombe aboard, rallied to get second. He completed the $72 exacta and returned $15.80 to place and $6.80 to show. Sammi's Courage was third under Irish jockey Donal Macaughly and paid $4.20 to show.

Harry's Westgate Pub was fourth with U.S. rider Juan Picon Jr. up, followed by Hav'n a Fog Attack (Frederick Salvatore of the U.S.) and Court Order (Danny Cook, Great Britain).

Maven went head-and-head with Hav'n a Fog Attack through the first half-mile, and then assumed command on the backstretch. The 4-year-old son of Bernstein turned for home with a clear lead and widened through the stretch, even though De Quatrebarbes lost his irons nearing the wire.

The world riding competition culminates this year in the final event at Baden-Baden, Germany on Oct. 19.

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September 10, 2008
IEAH STABLES TAKES OVER SPONSORSHIP OF MONMOUTH STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

IEAH Stables, part-owner of Big Brown, will be the presenting sponsor of Saturday's $500,000 Monmouth Stakes, it was announced today by Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager of Monmouth Park.

The mile and an eighth turf race, likely to draw a full field of top grass horses, will be headed by Big Brown, who is prepping for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic next month at Santa Anita. Big Brown, who won the Haskell Invitational on Monmouth's main track, has not run on turf since breaking his maiden last summer at Saratoga.

"We are thrilled to be the presenting sponsor of the Monmouth Stakes," said Michael Iavarone, co-president and co-CEO of IEAH Stables. "With this year's Breeders' Cup Classic being run on a synthetic track, running on grass was the next logical step for Big Brown, and what better place to do that than here, where he won the Haskell.

"The fans were incredible and we are excited to be bringing Big Brown back to them at Monmouth Park," Iavarone said.

IEAH Stables bought a 75 percent interest in Big Brown from Paul Pompa Jr. last year, shortly after the colt broke his maiden on turf.

The name of Saturday's inaugural running of the race will be the Monmouth Stakes Presented by IEAH Stables.

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September 7, 2008
POWER GAME STAYS UNBEATEN IN WINNING RESTORATION
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Phipps Stable's Power Game powered past his rivals before opening up in the stretch to remain unbeaten in three lifetime starts after taking the $65,000 Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Trained by Claude "Shug" McGaughey, Power Game stepped the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:43 2/5 and returned $3 to win.  It was 4 1/4 lengths back to runner-up Meal Penalty, who bested Pascal by another three-quarters of a length.  There was no place or show wagering offered on the Restoration, which scratched down to three 3-year-olds after being transferred from the turf to the main track.

"We had a good trip and didn't have to worry about too much trouble," said winning jockey Elvis Trujillo.  "Turning for home, he just really kicked it in and drew off from there.  I didn't even have to ask him at all."

Power Game, a son of Dixie Union from the Mr. Prospector mare Miner's Game broke his maiden at Monmouth on July 6 before returning to take an entry-level allowance on Aug 3.  He has now earned $85,200 for his connections.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, Sept. 10 - first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2008 racing season runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

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September 6, 2008
SHOPTON LANE GOES ALL THE WAY IN FORMAL GOLD STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Malih Al Basti Racing Stable's Shopton Lane took control out of the gate and never looked back, taking the $70,000 Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday, covering the mile and a sixteenth over the sloppy main track in 1:43 4/5.

Trained by Bruce Levine, the meet's top conditioner, Shopton Lane returned $2.80 and $2.10 as the odds-on choice in the field of four older horses.  It was three lengths back to Indy Wind, who rallied up the inside to complete a $7.80 exacta and paid $2.40 to place.  Rikman was third with Sinners N Saints fourth.  There was no show wagering on the Formal Gold.

"This colt was easy to ride," said winning jockey Jose Lezcano, who tops the rider standings at Monmouth Park.  "We got the early lead and he just kept on running all the way around. I didn't even really have to ask him."

Saturday's win marked the third in five starts this year for Shopton Lane, a 4-year-old colt by Quiet American from the Phone Trick mare Lightfoot Lane.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, Sept. 7 - first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2008 racing season runs through Sept. 28.

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September 5, 2008
NEW JERSEY BREEDERS' HANDICAP ADDED TO SEPT. 13 CARD
Monmouth Park.com

A third stakes has been added to the Saturday, Sept. 13, racing program, which will be headlined by the inaugural running of the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes, featuring Big Brown.

The $60,000 New Jersey Breeders Handicap, a mile and a sixteenth event for state-breds, joins the Monmouth Stakes, a mile and an eighth turf test, and the $60,000 Trenton Stakes, a grass sprint for 3-year-old fillies, as highlights of the card.

The N.J. Breeders, which closes for nominations this Saturday, is expected to bring back several of the horses who contested the Charles Hesse III Handicap in August. They include the first three finishers in that event - Cuba, Bythebeautifulsea, and Trueamericanspirit. Others considered as possibilities are Luna, winner of the Bernie Dowd Handicap, and Meadow Blue, second in that event.

The Trenton Stakes, which will be presented at five and a half furlongs on the grass, should lure a full field of 3-year-old fillies, including some who contested the Crank It Up Stakes here on Aug. 2.

The first running of the Monmouth Stakes drew 35 nominations, topped by Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational winner Big Brown. The race will have a gross purse of $500,000 if Big Brown starts, as expected, and is likely to draw a field of top older turf runners to face the prospective 3-year-old champion.

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September 5, 2008
HURDLE RACING RETURNS TO MONMOUTH ON SEPT. 20
Monmouth Park.com

For the first time in four seasons, Monmouth will present a stakes race for jumpers here on Saturday, Sept. 20.

The $75,000 Monmouth County Hunt Novice Hurdle Stakes (G2) at two and a quarter miles is for 4-year-olds and up who were non-winners over National fences before June 1 of 2007. The race serves as the main prep for the Grade 1 Foxbrook Novice Hurdle Stakes at Far Hills, N.J., on Oct. 18.

The stakes race was once a feature of the Monmouth County Hunt meeting held near Monmouth Park on the former estate of Amory L. Haskell.

The Saturday card also features the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival races - three stakes events for New Jersey-breds. The state-bred events are the $60,000 Eleven North Handicap at six furlongs for fillies and mares; the $60,000 Lincroft Handicap at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up, and the $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth.

The 'chase event will only add to the excitement of that Saturday, which features a New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival T-shirt giveaway, and the annual Shore Chef Crab Cake Cook-Off.

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September 4, 2008
BIG BROWN HEADS LIST OF 35 NOMS FOR SEPT. 13 MONMOUTH STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

Kentucky Derby and Haskell Invitational winner Big Brown tops a list of 35 nominations for the Monmouth Stakes, a mile and an eighth turf test to be contested at Monmouth Park on Saturday, Sept. 13.

Trained by Richard Dutrow Jr., Big Brown will be making just his second career start on turf in the Monmouth Stakes, having broken his maiden on the grass at Saratoga in his debut on Sept. 3, 2007.  Following that maiden score, a majority interest in the colt by Boundary from the Nureyev mare Mien was purchased by IEAH Stables.  Big Brown races for IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen and Pegasus Holdings Group.

Big Brown made his second start on March 5, 2008, scoring in an off the turf entry-level allowance contest at Gulfstream Park.  He followed that up with a five-length win in the Florida Derby and then his victory in the Kentucky Derby.  After taking the Preakness, Big Brown's bid for the Triple Crown fell short when he was eased nearing the quarter pole in the Belmont Stakes.  He bounced back from that effort with a nearly two-length score in the Haskell, Monmouth Park's signature race, on Aug. 3.

Stabled at Aqueduct, Big Brown sports a trio of workouts since his Haskell score, most recently breezing six furlongs on firm turf on Sept. 3 in 1:15 3/5.

As part of the condition of the race for the Monmouth Stakes the $200,000 purse will increase to $500,000 should the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner (Big Brown) start in the event.

The nominations, excluding late mail, for the Monmouth Stakes are:
 
Ballonenostrikes     
Barcola
Big Brown   
Call My Bluff  
Distorted Reality
Dr Rico
Drum Major
Fagedaboudit Sal
Get Serious 
Hotstufanthensome   
Hunting Print  
Icy Atlantic
Independent George 
Kiss the Kid
Little Dovefeather 
Minister's Joy    
Nergal 
Nightscape
Operation Red Dawn
Out of Control
Pleasant Strike
Proudinsky
R J's Brigade
Red Rocks
Ruff and Ready
Salinja
Saratoga Saint
Shake the Bank
Shakis
Silver Tree
Star Plus
Victory Alleged
War Monger
Wesley
Xela

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September 3, 2008
CHRIS DeCARLO EXPECTS TO RETURN RIDING ON SEPT. 17
Monmouth Park.com

Jockey Chris DeCarlo, who has not ridden since last November when he was injured in a spill at Calder and later underwent shoulder surgery, expects to be back at work on Wednesday, Sept. 17 at Monmouth. Not coincidentally, the date marks his daughter Nina's first birthday.

DeCarlo sustained a fractured left clavicle last Nov. 18 at Calder. Doctors attempted to treat the injury without surgery over the winter. But when that approach failed, DeCarlo underwent surgery in June to repair the fracture with six screws and a titanium plate.

The 39-year-old rider has been galloping horses for the past two weeks and has been given the go-ahead by doctors to return to raceriding.

In recent seasons, DeCarlo had ranked among the leading riders every year and in 2007 rode 10 stakes winners at the Monmouth meeting.

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September 2, 2008
LEZCANO, LEVINE AND BROOME SHOW WAY WITH 4 WEEKS TO GO
Monmouth Park.com

With four weeks of racing to go in the 2008 Monmouth Park season, jockey Jose Lezcano, trainer Bruce Levine and owner Eddie Broome show the way in the respective categories for meet-end honors come closing day on Sept. 28.

Lezcano, a 23-year-old native of Panama, has 105 victories, 14 more than his nearest rival Eddie Castro.  Joe Bravo, 13-time riding champion at Monmouth, is third with 73 wins.  Stewart Elliott is fourth with 59 victories, four more than Elvis Trujillo.

Over in the trainer’s race, Bruce Levine continues to show the way, sending out 43 winners from 121 starters, good for a 36% win clip.  Jason Servis is second with 28 trips to the winner’s circle, one more than Eddie Broome.  Rounding out the top five are Tim Hills with 18 wins and Eddie Plesa Jr. with 17 victories.

The owner’s race has Eddie Broome on top with 18 wins, three more than Repole Stable.  Patricia Generazio is third with 14 victories, four more than George and Lori Hall.  La Marca Stable is fifth with nine wins.

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August 31, 2008
SILENT VALOR IMPRESSIVE IN SAPLING SCORE; SELVA, $15, TAKES SORORITY AT MONMOUTH ON SUNDAY
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - In a day where both stakes races featured 2-year-olds at Monmouth Park, Silent Valor captured the $150,000 Sapling Stakes for colts and geldings as Selva came home on top in the $100,000 Sorority for fillies.

Silent Valor came around rivals before taking command in the lane and drawing off to a length and a half score in the Grade 3 test, stepping the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:10 1/5.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Silent Valor returned $5.80, $3.60 and $2.10 as the favorite in the field of six.  Officer Ipod completed a $28.20 exacta and paid $4.40 and $2.80.  It was another length and three-quarters back to Rereadthefootnotes, who paid $3 to show.

"He's a real easy horse to ride," said winning jockey Stewart Elliott.  "He does whatever you ask him to.  He's a push-button type of horse.  This colt really has a nice future ahead of him."

Sunday's score marked the second in three starts for Silent Valor, a colt by Lion Heart from the Valid Appeal mare Few Choice Words.  He has now earned $131,200 for owners Let's Go Stable.

Trained by David Carroll, Selva stalked the early pace set by Smokin Bayou in the Sorority before powering past that rival near the 1/8th pole and holding off the charge of Fools In Love to post a half-length win.  Selva returned $15, $7 and $3.80 and remained unbeaten after stopping the timer in 1:10 3/5 for six furlongs.  Fools In Love paid $5.20 to place and $2.60 to show and completed an $82 exacta.  Smoking Bayou was another half-length back in third, good for a  $2.40 show mutuel.

"I knew this filly had early speed because of the way she won first out at Saratoga," said winning jockey Eddie Castro.  "The plan was to sit close to the early leaders throughout and we ended up getting a good stalking trip.  She dug down in deep stretch and ran hard all the way until the end."

Selva is now a perfect two-for-two.  The daughter of Forest Wildcat from the Silver Deputy mare Bayou Mist has earned $97,200 for owners Helen C. Alexander and Helen K. Groves. 

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Monday for a Labor Day card of ten races.  Gates open at 11:30 a.m. with first post set for 12:50 p.m.

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August 30, 2008
BUFFALO MAN RALLIES TO WIN RED BANK AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Buffalo Man finished with a flourish at Monmouth Park Saturday as he closed relentlessly to capture the $150,000 Red Bank Stakes (G3) by nearly a length.

In the day's other feature, the $65,000 Twin Lights Stakes, Julia Tuttle used front-running tactics to score a one-length victory.

Buffalo Man, trained by Cam Gambolati and ridden by Carlos H. Marquez Jr., tracked a very fast pace into the stretch, where he just mowed down the front-runners, stopping the timer in 1:33 flat for the one mile over firm turf. He paid $12, $6.80 and $4.60 across the board and topped the $61.40 exacta.

Icy Atlantic, the 2-1 favorite in the field of seven older horses, proved a head better than Giant Wrecker for the place and paid $3.40 and $2.40. Giant Wrecker returned $2.60 to show.

This was the second stakes victory of the year for Buffalo Man, who races in the colors of Ol Memorial Stable & C.E. Glasscock. The 4-year-old son of El Prado won a stakes on the grass at Belmont in July.

John's Pic and Fagedaboudit Sal set a torrid early pace of :22 1/5 for the quarter and :45 for the half. John's Pic continued to lead into the stretch with six furlongs in 1:08 4/5. But the hot fractions took their toll as the closers mounted a charge in the final furlong, with Buffalo Man proving strongest of the come-from-behinders.

"I think we learned a lot about him today," Gambolati said. "He's been close up in his most recent races, and he doesn't necessarily have to be. I think he can step up to the next level after this."

"The game plan was to save as much ground as possible and wait as long as I could to ask the horse," said Marquez. "We sat of the early pace and waited. I knew this horse has a good turn of foot, so as soon as we saw daylight in the lane, he turned it on and outkicked everyone."

In the Twin Lights Stakes, Marion G. Montanari's Julia Tuttle had a simple formula for victory: Go to the front and improve your position.

Jockey Horacio Karamanos rode the perfect front-running race, allowing the Ferris Allen 3rd-trained filly to set steady fractions over the firm turf. Julia Tuttle held a long lead early, a medium lead turning into the stretch, and then held off a late challenge from One Man to Beat to score by one length. Sales Tax was a length farther behind in third.

Julia Tuttle raced the distance in a quick 1:46 1/5, just missing the track mark of 1:46 flat, and paid $7.60, $4.80 and $3.20 across the board as second choice in the field of seven 3-year-old fillies.

One Man to Beat, the 2-1 favorite, completed the $32.60 exacta and paid $3.80 to place and $2.80 to show. Sales Tax paid $3 to show.

This was the third win of the year - and first stakes victory - for Julia Tuttle, a daughter of Giant's Causeway. She won twice on the front end at Colonial Downs, and came into the Twin Lights off a third in the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks, when she held a long early lead but tired late.

Today, Julia Tuttle went the quarter in :23 2/5, the half-mile in :46 4/5 and the six furlongs in 1:10 1/5. She reached the eighth pole in 1:34 for the mile and ran steadily to the wire.

"She settled down much better today," trainer Allen said. "Those fractions were well within her ability. Her last trace (Virginia Oaks) could have been the first time I was 10 lengths in front turning for home and still lost."

Karamanos, who has ridden the filly four straight times now, said, "I was able to get her to relax a little bit even though we were going fast. She's the type of filly that will run all day long."

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August 28, 2008
DUFFY'S TAVERN SETS RECORD IN MONMOUTH VICTORY
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Joel A. Kligman's Duffy's Tavern ran down the speeding pacesetters in the stretch and drew off to a record-setting victory in the $45,000 allowance feature at Monmouth Park on Friday.

The winner, trained by Jim Ryerson and ridden by Pedro Cotto Jr., sped the five furlongs over a firm turf course in :55.18 to erase the mark of :55.37 set just Thursday by Knockinelder. It is a record for the distance with the portable rail set 36 feet out from the hedge.

Duffy's Tavern paid $8, $4.40 and $3.60 across the board as third choice in the field of eight after finishing nearly six lengths in front of Langley. The second finisher completed the $89.20 exacta and paid $10.80 to place and $8.40 to show. Titanium Menace, a 37-1 chance, finished a half-length back in third and paid $8.60 to show.

Bedford Arch, the even-money favorite, and Derek's Star battled for the early lead through torrid fractions of :21 for the quarter and :43 3/5 for the half-mile. Duffy's Tavern grabbed the lead when they were spent and quickly drew off.

The winner, a 3-year-old son of Arch won for the first time in four starts at Monmouth this year.

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August 28, 2008
T-SHIRT GIVEAWAY HIGHLIGHTS BIG BROWN'S SEPT. 13 APPEARANCE
Monmouth Park.com

Fans on hand to see dual classic winner Big Brown contest the inaugural running of the $500,000 Monmouth Stakes here on Saturday, Sept. 13, will receive a long-sleeve T-shirt that commemorates the colt's victory in the Haskell Invitational.

The T-shirt is free with all paid admissions that day while supplies last. Admission prices will be the usual $3 for the grandstand and $5 for the clubhouse. In addition, reserved seats near the finish line are available for $2 each. Seat reservations can be made by calling 732-571-5581.

Big Brown is expected to head a field of turf runners when he goes in the Monmouth Stakes, set for a mile and an eighth on the grass. The 3-year-old, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in the spring, actually made his first career start on the turf last year when he broke his maiden as a 2-year-old.

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August 24, 2008
HYSTERICALADY, $2.20, REPEATS IN MOLLY PITCHER STAKES; SHINING IMAGE PLACED 1ST IN MISS WOODFORD; BROOME WINS 1,000TH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Rancho San Miguel's Hystericalady successfully defended her crown in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Stakes, drawing off to an eight length score after stepping the mile and a sixteenth over a fast main track in 1:43 1/5.

Shining Image, who finished second by a head, was placed first in the Miss Woodford Stakes after Peisinoe, who crossed the wire first, was disqualified for coming out on her rival in the stretch.

Hystericalady broke sharply, before sitting second behind the pacesetter Rolling Sea.  She powered past that foe nearing the quarter pole before drawing off easily through the stretch.  She won last year's Molly Pitcher by 6 1/4 lengths.

"She always does more than we expect of her," said winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.  "She broke so sharp.  She was able to sit second and get a great trip.

"We'll probably go to the Lady's Secret Stakes at Santa Anita (Sept. 27), or we may skip it and go right to the Breeders' Cup (Oct. 24).  The Breeders' Cup is the goal."

Winning rider Robby Albarado said, "I just tried to keep her out of trouble.  I was just a passenger today.  I can't take credit for this one."

Hystericalady returned $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10 as the 1-9 favorite in the Molly Pitcher.  She topped an $11.20 exacta.  Rolling Sea, the early pacesetter, held second and paid $5.60 and $2.80.  Lexi Star, runner-up in last year's Molly Pitcher, had to settle for third this year, another length and a quarter back in third.  She paid $2.20 to show.

Sunday's win was the 11th in 21 starts for Hystericalady, who has now earned $2,290,556.

Shining Image, trained by John Terranova II, returned $8.80, $4.60 and $3.60 and topped a $36 exacta in winning the Miss Woodford.  Peisinoe, who set all the pace, returned $3.80 and $3.40.  Spritely, the post-time favorite was 2 3/4 lengths back in third, good for a $3.20 show mutuel.  The time for the race was 1:09 4/5 for six furlongs over the main track.

"That other horse (Peisinoe) came out and hit me pretty hard," said Daniel Centeno, who rode Shining Image.  "My filly was gaining and gaining on her and she just came right out and hit us really hard.  It made the difference."

The Miss Woodford win was the second in five starts for Shining Image, a 3-year-old by Northern Afleet from the Florida Sunshine mare Solar Mist.  She has now earned $93,800 for owner Sovereign Stable.

In the day's 7th race, trainer Eddie Broome achieved a career milestone, winning his 1,000th race when Tastefully Smart led wire-to-wire to captured the $41,000 allowance/optional claiming event.

Born in Berlin, N.J. the 56-year-old resident of Erial, N.J. had captured his 999th victory just one day prior when Lucky James was a victor on Monmouth Park's Saturday card.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, Aug. 27 - first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2008 season runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

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August 23, 2008
ALMONSOON ROLLS TO SEVEN-LENGTH SCORE IN OMNIBUS STAKES; RENDA SCORES IN JUNIOR CHAMPION AT MONMOUTH PARK
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. -  Almonsoon easily captured the $70,000 Omnibus Stakes, and Renda took the $60,000 Junior Champion Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday as both events were taken off the turf and run on the main track.

A burst water pipe flooded a portion of the turf course near the quarter-pole Thursday night, and grass racing was canceled both Friday and Saturday to give the track a chance to dry out. Sunday's races are expected to be run on the turf.

In the Omnibus, run at a mile and a quarter from the chute (originally slated for a mile and three-eighths on turf), Almonsoon was content to let Seeking an Angel set all the pace for a mile. The 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway raced to the lead on the turn and then just cruised to the wire, scoring by seven widening lengths.

Seeking an Angel grabbed the place spot, five and a quarter lengths in front of Jive, with Czarina's Girl last in the field of four.

Almonsoon, trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by Jose Velez Jr., raced the 10 furlongs in 2:06 1/5 and paid $4 and $2.60 as the even-money favorite. Seeking an Angel, longest shot on the board at 4-1, completed the $11.60 exacta and paid $4.60 to place. There was no show wagering.

Seeking an Angel set slow fractions in an attempt to steal the Omnibus, but Almonsoon proved too strong to hold off as she scored her second win in five starts this year. It was her second victory in two Monmouth starts, as she won here in 2006.

This was the first stakes win for jockey Velez since he returned to Monmouth after riding earlier this summer at Arlington Park.

"I asked her a little at the five-sixteenths pole," Velez said, "just to get her outside. "After that, I just sat on her all the way to the wire. She did everything easy. I just had to be a good passenger."

In the Junior Champion Stakes for 2-year-old fillies, Renda, the 13-10 favorite, tracked the leaders closely much of the way until entering the stretch, where she easily took command and drew off to score by seven lengths.

Countess Seagrape, an 8-1 chance, finished second, two and a quarter lengths in front of Maxinkuckee Miss.

Renda, trained by Juan Arias and ridden by Sebastian Madrid, raced the one mile over a fast main track in 1:40 flat and paid $4.60, $3.40 and $2.20 across the board. Countess Seagrape, who completed the $25.40 exacta, paid $6.60 to place and $3.40 to show, while Maxinkuckee Miss returned $2.40 to show.

Renda, a daughter of Medaglia d'Oro, broke her maiden at Calder in May, and came into this race off graded stakes tries in the Debutante at Churchill Downs and the Schuylerville at Saratoga. She ran fifth in both those Grade 3 events.

"She was prepared to go either way, turf or dirt," Arias said of the winner. "She got pinched back a little in the beginning, but when she angled out, she ran on well."

Jockey Madrid, who was riding Renda for the first time, said , "I had a perfect trip. The race set up just the way I thought, but I didn't think I was going to be so close. When she put me in that position, I thought 'this is great.'"

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August 21, 2008
BIG BROWN'S NEXT START TO BE ON MONMOUTH TURF, SEPT. 13
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Big Brown, winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Haskell Invitational, is expected to return to the Jersey Shore on Sept. 13 to make his next start in the $200,000 Monmouth Stakes, a mile and an eighth turf contest for 3-year-olds and up.

Big Brown rebounded off a last place finish in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 to capture Monmouth Park's signature race, the $1 million Haskell on Aug. 3.

"We were looking for a grass race for him and the Monmouth grass surface should be perfect for Big Brown," said Michael Iavarone, co-president and co-CEO of IEAH Stables.  "Monmouth was cordial enough to put up a nice purse for him and the fans really took to Big Brown last time he was there.

"We'll use this race to go to the synthetic surface at Santa Anita and the Breeders' Cup Classic (Oct. 25)."

As part of the conditions of the race, the $200,000 purse for the Monmouth Stakes will be increased to $500,000 should the 2008 Kentucky Derby winner (Big Brown) start in the turf test.

"We're overjoyed that Big Brown will be returning to New Jersey," said Bob Kulina, vice president and general manager of Monmouth Park.  "Big Brown coming back to the Jersey Shore will provide added excitement to September racing at Monmouth and should be an across the board winner for his connections, the fans, and the racing industry in New Jersey."

A colt by Boundary out of the Nureyev mare Mien, Big Brown has won five of six starts and has earned $3,314,500.  He races for IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen and Pegasus Holdings Group.

Big Brown broke his maiden at first asking on Sept. 3, 2007, winning by 11 1/4 lengths over the Saratoga turf course.  The Monmouth Stakes will mark the colt's second race on turf.

Monmouth Park's 2008 racing season runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

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August 19, 2008
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 3 ADDED TO MONMOUTH’S LIVE RACE DATES
Monmouth Park.com

Monmouth Park has added one additional live race day to the 2008 schedule – Wednesday, Sept. 3.

The track was originally scheduled to be dark that day, but will now conduct a live race program, boosting this years total number of Monmouth dates to an even 100.

Live racing at Monmouth runs Wednesday through Sunday, with a first post of 12:50 p.m.  Additionally, live racing will take place on Monday, Sept. 1 – Labor Day.

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August 17, 2008
CLASSIFY TAKES SUNDAY'S INCREDIBLE REVENGE STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Winchell Thoroughbreds' Classify gained the lead in the shadow of the wire before posting a neck victory in the $60,000 Incredible Revenge Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Classify covered the 5 1/2 furlongs over a fast main track in 1:03 3/5 and returned $7.60 and $3.60.  Beau Dare, the 3-2 favorite, set the early fractions but had to settle for second paying $2.80 to place and completing a $22.60 exacta.  It was 8 3/4 lengths back to Pure Disco who finished third.  Jazzy was last in the field of fillies and mares that scratched down to four runners after being transferred from the turf to the main track.

"The trip played out real well," said winning rider David Cohen.  "We had a nice pace in front of us.  I moved her out at the top of the stretch and she did her job."

Sunday's win marked the seventh in 16 starts for Classify, a daughter of Unbridled's Song from the Olympio mare Classic Olympio.  She has now earned $205,250 for her connections.

Live racing resumes at Monmouth Park on Wednesday, August 20 - first post 12:50 p.m.  As always, the racetrack is open seven days a week for simulcast racing from across the country and around the globe.

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August 16, 2008
HONEST MAN BEATS GRASSHOPPER IN ISELIN STAKES AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Honest Man stalked the pace into the stretch, and then turned on the speed to score a nearly three-length victory in the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

In the day's second feature, Flying Dutchman Stable's Bunker Hill fought back gamely when headed in deep stretch and gained an upset victory in the $60,000 Continental Mile Stakes for 2-year-olds, run over the main track.

Honest Man, trained by J. Larry Jones and ridden by Terry Thompson - the same combination that captured last week's Monmouth Oaks (G3) with Maren's Meadow - raced the mile and an eighth in 1:49 over the fast main track as he captured his first graded stakes.

Grasshopper, the 3-2 favorite, could not make up enough ground late and had to settle for second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Kiss the Kid, who had a neck on Gottcha Gold for the show.

The winner paid $8.20, $3.40 and $3 across the board as second choice in the field of eight older horses. Grasshopper, $2.40 to place and $2.40 to show, completed the $24.20 exacta. Kiss the Kid paid $4.40 to show.

Honest Man, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled's Song owned by Winstar Farm & Fox Hill Farm, finished third in the Salvator Mile (G3) here in July, his first Monmouth start. This was the first stakes win for the Kentucky-bred, who has now won six of his 10 lifetime starts.

"It sure looks like the Salvator Mile set him up perfectly for this," Jones said. "I told Terry just to let him break and play it from there. He did everything right. We were able to stalk the early pace and go after the leaders turning for home."

Gottcha Gold, who won last year's Iselin in front-running style, tried the same tactics today. However, Kiss the Kid ranged up to challenge around the turn, and both of them were passed in midstretch by the streaking Honest Man. Grasshopper made a belated move outside to be second.

In the Continental Mile, Bunker Hill set all the pace under Jose Lezcano, fighting off threats by favored Beacon Hill Road early, and then second choice Uncle T Seven late to prevail by a nose.

The 2-year-old son of Trippi, trained by Derek Ryan, surged ahead in the final yards to get his nose up first on the wire, as he raced the one mile on a fast main track in 1:39 2/5. The race was scheduled to be run on the turf, but was transferred to the dirt because of overnight rains.

As one of the longest prices in the field of eight 2-year-olds, Bunker Hill paid $29, $14.80 and $8.20 across the board and topped the $140.20 exacta. Uncle T Seven, who stuck his head in front briefly nearing the wire, had to settle for the place and paid $5.20 to place and $3.80 to show. Aspiring Nick was third, two lengths farther back, and paid $4.80 to show. Favored Beacon Hill Road was fourth.

This was the second victory in as many Monmouth starts for Bunker Hill, who broke his maiden here on Aug. 7 in a five-furlong maiden claimer.

"I had him ready to go two turns when we ran him first out," Ryan said. "I had this race picked out all along. He's really a game horse and he ran great today."

Jockey Lezcano said, "When he saw the horse on the outside in the stretch (Uncle T Seven), he just dug in gamely and fought back all the way to the wire."

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August 16, 2008
MULTIPLE STAKES WINNER PROP ME UP RETIRED
Monmouth Park.com

Silly Goose Stable's Prop Me Up, winner of three stakes at Monmouth and the Meadowlands last year, has been retired, trainer Joe Orseno reports.

The 6-year-old mare by Reparations - Natural Prop, by Proper Reality, ends her career with a lifetime mark of 8-11-7 in 37 starts and earnings of $473,478.

She is slated to be sold this fall as a broodmare prospect.

Prop Me Up, who broke her maiden at Monmouth in 2005, won the Lady's Secret Stakes here last year, and then took the Red Cross and Long Look Stakes at the Meadowlands.  She was given a try in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff, but finished last of 12 on a sloppy track here.

This season, the mare made five starts, running third in both the Monmouth Beach Stakes and the Lighthouse Stakes here. In her final career start, Prop Me Up chased the pace in the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes here on Aug. 3, but tired to finish eighth.

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August 15, 2008
CONTINENTAL MILE A PROVING GROUND FOR BUDDING STARS
Monmouth Park.com

Saturday's $60,000 Continental Mile Stakes offers 2-year-olds a chance to go two turns on the turf, usually for the first time, and is always a puzzle worth solving.   

Todd Pletcher, who saddled Atoned to win last year's off-the-turf running, will have the favorite in Bittel Road, who broke his maiden sprinting on the grass at Belmont.

But there are nine others in the race who all bear watching, for a variety of reasons.

Aspiring Nick and Beacon Hill Road have both won at one mile, but will be trying the grass for the first time.

Char-Mari Stable's Beacon Hill Road commands attention as a half-brother to multiple graded stakes winner Park Avenue Ball, won the 2006 Iselin.

The Ben Perkins Jr.-trained colt by Forestry, wheels back into action just two weeks after breaking his maiden at one mile on Aug. 2, a wire-to-wire score.

"It's a little quick back, but there are a lot of positives," Perkins said. "We want to try him two turns on the grass, and if he could win this, it helps the mare (Road to the Ball, by Cahill Road) because then she'd have two stakes winners on turf and dirt. He's got a good pedigree for the grass with Forestry (a son of Storm Cat) on top.

"And, since he's already won at a mile on the main track, he'll stay in no matter what happens with the weather."

The only horse in the field with experience going one mile on the grass is Poindexter Thoroughbreds' Rogersville, trained by Kathy Mongeon.

The son of Newfoundland got his experience at Colonial Downs on July 26, when he was beaten just a head in a tough maiden event.

"He's a Virginia-bred, so we sent him to Colonial for his first race," Mongeon said. "He had to ship six and a half hours, and then he had the inside post. They loaded him, and he stood in the gate for a long time, and then a horse was scratched. They unloaded the field, and then loaded him again, and he stood for a long time again.

"Considering all that, he really ran well," Mongeon said. "And since he's back at Monmouth, he's been awesome in his training. He's got the rail again Saturday, but I'm not that worried about it. He's got the experience, and there's no shipping. This time he's running right here at home."

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August 12, 2008
LEZCANO, LEVINE, BROOME TOP MONMOUTH PARK STANDINGS
Monmouth Park.com

With 64 of the 99 days of racing at the 2008 Monmouth Park meet in the books, jockey Jose Lezcano, trainer Bruce Levine and owner Eddie Broome lead the way in the race for top honors come meets-end on Sunday, Sept. 28.

Lezcano, a 23-year-old native of Panama, has 90 wins through Sunday’s card, 16 more than his closest rival Eddie Castro.  Joe Bravo, 13-time Monmouth riding champion, is third with 65 victories.  Stewart Elliott is fourth with 48 wins, seven more than Carlos H. Marquez Jr.

Over in the trainer’s race, Bruce Levine has 39 wins from 103 starts, good for a 38% win clip.  Eddie Broome is second with 24 wins, two more than Jason Servis.  Tim Hills is fourth with 15 trips to the winner’s circle, one more than John Rigattieri.

Eddie Broome leads the way in the race for top owner, sporting 17 wins at the meet.  Repole Stable is second with 11 wins, two more than Patricia Generazio.

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August 10, 2008
TRAVOLTA TAKES SUNDAY'S MY FRENCHMAN AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - La Marca Stable's Travolta gained command midway on the turn before drawing off to a 4 1/2 length score in the $60,000 My Frenchman Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Ridden by David Cohen, Travolta covered the 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:03 4/5 over the main track labeled "good."  The winner returned $5.40, $3.20 and $2.20 as the favorite and topped an $18 exacta.  Museeb rallied up the inside to pay $4 to place and $2.20 to show.  It was another three-quarters of a length back to Blue Sailor who returned $2.10 to show.  A field of five contested the My Frenchman, which was transferred to the main track after afternoon showers.

"This really turned out to be a nice claim," said winning trainer Jason Servis.  "I knew the five (That's My Man) would be in front, but I thought his speed wouldn't hold on the main track.  This horse ran great.  We'll look for another similar spot on the main track for this horse."

Claimed for $30,000 on Feb. 28 at Gulfstream Park, Travolta has now won three of four starts for La Marca Stable.  The 4-year-old gelding by Grand Slam from the Capote mare Defiant Beauty has now earned $112,625.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Wednesday, Aug. 13 - first post 12:50 p.m.  The 2008 Monmouth meet runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.

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August 9, 2008
TARRANT POINTS KISS THE KID TO ISELIN, WAITS WITH INDY WIND
Monmouth Park.com

Owner-trainer Amy Tarrant, who maintained most of the summer that Indy Wind was her candidate for the $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes (G3) here on Aug. 16, has changed horses in mid-month, naming Kiss the Kid for the mile and an eighth event.

Indy Wind, a 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy, won the Frisk Me Now Stakes on June 7, but then was fourth in the Grade 3 Salvator Mile on July 5, and fifth last out in the Skip Away Stakes (the Iselin prep) on July 26.

"I made a mistake in rushing Indy along this summer," Tarrant said. "He's going to be retired at the end of the season, and I wanted him to win a graded stakes before he goes to stud. So I felt I had to go in every race.

"I ran him back too soon the last time, and he's never done well with just a few weeks between races. So I'm giving him a break and I'll hold him out until the Formal Gold Stakes on September 6."

Tarrant said the new plan calls for Indy Wind to run in the mile and a sixteenth Formal Gold as a prep for the Grade 3 Meadowlands Cup, which will be renewed the first week of October.

"He's always run well at the Meadowlands," Tarrant said, "and this will give him a month between the two races."

Indy Wind has won both his Meadowlands starts on the main track, taking the Alysheba Stakes in both 2006 and 2007.

Kiss the Kid, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid, has had an ambitious schedule this season. He was fourth in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Handicap on Jan. 4, and then ran third in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap on the main track at Gulfstream on Feb. 2. The Kentucky-bred came right back to be third in the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap on March 1.

Tarrant pitched him really high for his next start, spotting him in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont on May 26. Kiss the Kid finished seventh of nine in the one-mile test, traditionally one of the toughest races run in the nation.

Last out, Kiss the Kid returned to the grass to run second in the Bob Harding Stakes here.

"He's run well on the dirt here, and he trains over it every day," Tarrant said in explaining her decision to run Kiss the Kid in the Iselin. "And he always tries his best. He runs every race all-out."

Kiss the Kid won an allowance race on the main track here in 2006, and last year took an off-the-turf allowance run on a muddy track. 

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August 9, 2008
MAREN'S MEADOW, $24, NEVER HEADED IN MONMOUTH OAKS UPSET; ACOMA 2ND, WHIRLIE BERTIE 3RD; M J'S ENCHANTEUR WINS SELECT
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - River Ridge Ranch's Maren's Meadow looked like a winner every stride as she led from gate to wire to upset the $150,000 Monmouth Oaks (G3) at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

In the day's co-feature, M J's Enchanteur used similar front-running tactics to win the $70,000 Select Stakes.

Maren's Meadow, trained by J. Larry Jones and ridden by Terry Thompson, hit the wire four and a half lengths in front of Acoma, who had four lengths on Whirling Bertie, the 8-5 favorite in the field of five 3-year-old fillies.

The winner stepped the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44 flat and paid $24.20, $7.80 and $5.60 across the board as second longest shot on the board. Maren's Meadow topped an $81.80 exacta with Acoma, who paid $3.80 and $3.60, and Whirling Bertie paid $3 to show.

Maren's Meadow, a bay filly by Meadowlake, tried similar front-running tactics in the Delaware Oaks last out on July 12, but tired from her efforts and finished fourth behind stablemate Proud Spell. The Ontario-bred appreciated the fast Monmouth track today, however, and never looked in danger at any point.

She broke on top and set all the fractions - the quarter in :23 2/5, the half in :46 3/5 and six furlongs in 1:11 3/5. Turning into the stretch, she increased her lead and ran the one mile in 1:37 1/5.

This was her second graded stakes victory of the year. In March, Maren's Meadow won the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.

"She brings her A game every race," Jones said. "She's gotten to the point where she can handle the distance a little bit better.

"We thought we had the Delaware race pretty well covered with this filly going to the front and Proud Spell coming from off of it. Turning for home, I thought this filly had a big chance to beat Proud Spell."

Jockey Terry Thompson, who rode Maren's Meadow at Oaklawn Park during the winter, said, "The game plan was to break and go right to the lead. We got the lead early on, which gave me the ability to dictate the pace down the backside. I knew I had a lot under me turning for home."

In the Select Stakes for 3-year-olds, M J's Enchanteur took command out of the gate and never looked back as he scored a three-quarters of a length victory in the quick time of 1:09 1/5 for the six furlongs.

The winner, trained by Scott Lake and ridden by Eddie Castro, paid $20.20, $8 and $3.60 across the board as the second longest shot in the field of six. Fujita, one of three who went off at 5-2 in the race, rallied to be second and paid $4.40 to place and $3 to show and completed the $65.80 exacta. Indy Joe was two and a quarter lengths farther back and paid $3 to show.

This was the second straight stakes score for M J's Enchanteur, a son of Metfield who won the Oh Say Stakes at Delaware Park last out, also in wire-to-wire fashion>

M J's Enchanteur broke fast and found himself alone on the lead when Cobra Strike, who was expected to battle for the front, stumbled leaving the gate. With Indy Joe pressing from just behind, the winner clipped off a quarter in :22 flat and a half-mile in :44 3/5. Fujita mounted a belated rally but never threatened M J's Enchanteur the last furlong.

"He broke good and went right to the lead," Castro said. "I tried to get him to relax as much as possible, but it was hard with that horse (Indy Joe) right on the outside of me. When I asked him, he really picked it up for me and kept on going."

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August 7, 2008
DÉJÀ VU ALL OVER AGAIN FOR MARTIN CHERRY AND MARGOLIS?
Monmouth Park.com

Last year, trainer Steve Margolis brought a group of horses to Monmouth in the middle of the meet, and the string included a 2-year-old filly bred and owned by Martin L. Cherry named A Little Gem.

The daughter of Yonaguska, coming off a close third in a maiden event at Churchill Downs, made her presence felt immediately at Monmouth when she galloped to a five and a quarter-length score in a maiden race here on Aug. 2 as the 4-5 favorite. A month later, she was even more impressive, taking the Sorority Stakes by more than two lengths.

In Wednesday's ninth race, a 2-year-old filly bred and owned by Cherry named Northern Belle, coming off a close second in a Churchill Downs maiden race, broke her maiden by five lengths as the 9-10 favorite.

"Am I thinking Sorority for her?" Margolis asked rhetorically. "Of course I am. Especially after the way she ran here.

"But we'll have to wait and see. The filly that beat her in the Churchill maiden race (Smokin Bayou) came back to win the Colleen here last week. It would be interesting to meet her again."

Northern Belle is a daughter of Northern Afleet - Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades.

A Little Gem, now trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., reaffirmed her love of the Monmouth strip when she won an allowance race here on July 24 by nearly seven lengths in her first start in more than six months. The filly has three career wins in seven starts - all at Monmouth.

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August 6, 2008
EDDIE BROOME NEARING 1,000 CAREER VICTORY MARK AS TRAINER
Monmouth Park.com

Eddie Broome, who has been a New Jersey mainstay for 14 years now, is nearing the 1,000 mark in career wins as a trainer.

Through racing of Sunday, Aug. 3, Broome had 996 career victories, the most recent coming with Adjust on July 27.

Broome has two horses entered on Wednesday's card and three more on the Thursday program.

The 56-year-old Broome, who owns all or part of most of the horses he trains, has won four training titles at the Meadowlands, and three titles as leading owner at Monmouth.

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August 3, 2008
BIG BROWN, 1-5 FAVORITE, WINS HASKELL INVITATIONAL BY 1 3/4 OVER COAL PLAY AS MONMOUTH BETTING RECORDS TUMBLE
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Dual classic winner Big Brown displayed championship form at Monmouth Park on Sunday as he dug down deep to catch a stubborn Coal Play in the final furlong to win the $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (G1) by nearly two lengths.

The 45,132 fans on hand on a perfect summer afternoon were treated to a tremendous horserace as the 1-5 Big Brown was forced to call on all his reserves to gain his fourth Grade 1 victory of the year as jockey Kent Desormeaux kept him in a drive from the quarter-pole to the wire.

After his puzzling race in the Belmont, when he was pulled up and did not finish, his Haskell performance delighted trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. and owners IEAH Stables, Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin, Andrew Cohen and Pegasus Holdings Group.

The Haskell drew record wagering of $4,257,409, pacing Monmouth to a single-day record total handle of $17,642,954, all all-time record for New Jersey pari-mutuels. The betting totals easily surpassed last year's records of $3,734,404 bet on the Haskell, and $14,122,636 bet on the 14-race card.

"Everything was perfect," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. "Not only did we get to see another great Haskell, but finally the weather was on our side. The racing office did a great job putting together 14 terrific races, and the handle certainly reflected that. The Haskell capped off a great weekend of racing for the State of New Jersey."

Big Brown, who chased Coal Play all around the oval, asserted himself the final furlong while drifting wide and crossed the wire a length and three-quarters in front of his rival. Cool Coal Man, like Coal Play trained by Nick Zito, finished third, four and a quarter lengths farther back.

Alaazo, longest shot on the board at 33-1, finished fourth, followed by Nistle's Crunch, Atoned and Magical Forest.
Big Brown finished the nine furlongs in 1:48 1/5 and paid $2.40, $2.10 and $2.10 as the overwhelming choice. Coal Play, off at 20-1, completed the $25.20 exacta and paid $8 to place and $4.20 to show. Cool Coal Man, the 6-1 second choice, returned $2.80 to show.

Coal Play broke from the gate like a shot under Joe Bravo and assumed command from the gate. Big Brown found himself trapped on the rail the first turn, first by Coal Play and then by Atoned.

However, the bay colt by Boundary was able to swing out entering the bend, and raced behind and outside Coal Play the entire length of the backstretch.

Coal Play began to get away from Big Brown rounding the turn, and Desormeaux put the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner into a drive to give chase.

Coal Play surged ahead for a furlong, but in the final eighth of a mile, Big Brown asserted himself while racing in the center of the track and drew clear the last sixteenth.

"He found a new gear and just kept sticking his neck out," Desormeaux said. "I knew he was going to get there. At the top of the stretch that horse (Coal Play) took off, but Big Brown took off after him. He just kept coming, and I knew we'd get him."

"He showed up today," Dutrow said of Big Brown. "That other horse ran a huge, huge race. The last eighth, he got himself together and showed us what he's made of."

Michael Iavarone, co-president and co-CEO of the IEAH syndicate, said, "I thought we were in trouble at the quarter-pole. Nick Zito's horse ran so big. He kicked away from us and I thought we were in trouble. This was another dimension for Big Brown - he showed his heart and courage."

Zito, who upset the Belmont with Da'Tara and looked like he would spring another surprise today, was happy with his two-three finish.

"I thought we had a helluva shot turning for home," Zito said. "I thought to myself 'We could do this again.' I'm very happy right now. We made him (Big Brown) run, that's for sure. But this is good for racing. Coal Play ran a big race."

Desormeaux, who has been aboard in all Big Brown's races this year, was effusive in his praise.

"Big Brown is the best horse I've ever ridden," said Desormeaux, who passed the 5,000 mark in career wins last week.

"Today he showed he's a warrior. He's always won his other races with such ease. Today he showed what courage he had. Grade 1's, they don't give them away, and Big Brown earned it today."

The $600,00 winner's share of the Haskell's $1 million purse raised Big Brown's career earnings to $3,314,500.

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August 2, 2008
BIG BROWN ARRIVES AT MONMOUTH FOR HASKELL INVITATIONAL; GRADE 1 TEST GOES AS 13TH OF 14 RACES ON SUNDAY'S PROGRAM
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Big Brown arrived quietly on the Monmouth Park backstretch at 8 a.m. Saturday and settled into trainer Rick Dutrow Jr.'s barn as he gets ready for a major test in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (G1).

Winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, but pulled up in the Belmont Stakes, Big Brown makes his first start since that enigmatic effort on June 7 in the mile and an eighth Haskell. The Boundary colt starts from Post 4 and will be an odds-on favorite against six rivals with regular rider Kent Desormeaux aboard.

The bay colt, owned by IEAH Stables in partnership with Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin and Andrew Cohen, arrived at Monmouth by van from Aqueduct Saturday morning. Big Brown walked once around the shedrow in Dutrow's barn, and then settled into his stall, calmly munching his haynet before coming out for a bath. He was scheduled to school in the paddock with the field for Saturday's first race.

The two other Haskell starters already on the grounds, Dogwood Stable's Atoned and Alien Farm's Nistle's Crunch, both galloped a mile and a quarter Saturday morning. Robert LaPenta's duo of Coal Play and Cool Coal Man, and Zayat Stable's Alaazo, will be shipped down from Saratoga early Sunday morning. Paraneck Stable's Magical Forest also arrives early Sunday after vanning from Aqueduct.

The Haskell, centerpiece of Monmouth's summer meeting, will top a 14-race card Sunday, going as the 13th event on the program. Post time for the Haskell is 6:14 p.m. The race will be televised live on ESPN Classic (6-6:30 p.m.) and also on TVG, which will provide daylong coverage of the entire Monmouth card.

Gates will open at 10 a.m., with the first race slated to go off at 12 noon. The program includes seven stakes races in addition to the Haskell, topped by two Grade 3 turf events - the Taylor Made Matchmaker for fillies and mares (10th race) and the Oceanport Stakes (12th race) for older runners.

The betting program will include an all-stakes Pick 4 starting on the 10th race with a guaranteed pool of $250,000, and a 50-cent Pick 5 starting on the 5th race with a guaranteed pool of $50,000.

Big Brown burst on the racing scene this winter in Florida when he blitzed an allowance field on March 5, and then won the Grade 1 Florida Derby by five lengths. He went into the Kentucky Derby as the favorite and ran to his odds, scoring by nearly five lengths. In the Preakness, he was never extended while winning by more than five lengths, and came into the Belmont Stakes with a chance to become an undefeated Triple Crown winner despite some foot problems.

However, Big Brown was rank and roughed up the first quarter-mile of the mile and a half event, and then steadily dropped back after a mile. Desormeaux pulled him up entering the Belmont stretch and Big Brown failed to finish. Neither the owners nor the trainer have been able to come up with an explanation for the effort.

Big Brown's main rivals in the Haskell will be Atoned, who has two wins and three seconds in five Monmouth starts for trainer Todd Pletcher, and the Nick Zito-trained paid of Coal Play and Cool Coal Man, both of whom have won over the Monmouth strip. The Zito horses will run as separate betting interests.

Pletcher will be going for an unprecedented third straight Haskell victory when he saddles Atoned. The Eclipse Award-winning trainer won in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat and last year with Any Given Saturday.

Nistle's Crunch is a New Jersey-bred who will be making his first start in the state. The son of Van Nistelrooy, trained by Ken McPeek, comes off three straight turf starts.

Alaazo, the least-raced of all the Haskell horses with just four starts, broke his maiden at Monmouth last year, and his dam, Atelier, won the Molly Pitcher Stakes (G2) here in 2002.

Magical Forest, trained by Joe DeMola, comes into the Haskell off two stakes victories at Delaware Park.
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August 1, 2008
BIG BROWN BREEZES THREE FURLONGS IN :38 3/5 ON AQUEDUCT TURF, SET TO ARRIVE AT MONMOUTH SATURDAY MORNING FOR HASKELL
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Big Brown blew out on the turf at Aqueduct Friday for Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (G1) and is scheduled to school in the Monmouth paddock Saturday afternoon ... The Kentucky Derby-Preakness winner goes from Post 4 in the mile and an eighth Haskell and is the 1-2 morning line favorite.

BIG BROWN, Post 4, 1-2 - The dual classic winner, who starts from the middle of the field in Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage (G1), had his final breeze for the race Friday morning at Aqueduct when he blew out three furlongs in :38 3/5 over the Big A turf course.

Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. said the Boundary colt will ship to Monmouth on Saturday morning for his date in the mile and a half Haskell. The colt is slated to school in the Monmouth paddock Saturday afternoon with the field for the first race.
Big Brown has been installed the 1-2 morning line favorite by Monmouth oddsmaker Brad Thomas.

Big Brown is owned by the IEAH Stables syndicate in partnership with three New Jersey residents - Paul Pompa Jr., Gary Tolchin and Andrew Cohen.

The colt won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness in rousing fashion, but was pulled up and did not finish in the Belmont Stakes, ending his Triple Crown bid. He has been working steadily at Aqueduct since the June 7 Belmont for his return.

Kent Desormeaux, who has been aboard in all Big Brown's starts this year, has the mount in the Haskell. This is the third Haskell mount for Desormeaux, who finished fourth aboard Private Terms in 1988, and third on Free House in 1997.

ALAAZO, Post 3, 30-1 - The Bill Mott-trained colt is expected to ship down early Sunday morning from Saratoga for the Haskell.

Alaazo, a son of A.P. Indy, broke his maiden at Monmouth as a 2-year-old last August, and then was out until February this year when he won an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. The Zayat Stables color bearer was fourth in his most recent start, an allowance at Belmont on June 27.

He has been working steadily at Saratoga for his return to action, most recently turning in a seven-furlong breeze in 1:28 4/5 on Tuesday.

Mott has given the mount on Alaazo to Jose Lezcano, currently the leading rider at Monmouth. This is the second Haskell ride for Lezcano, who finished ninth on Little Cliff in 2006.

The dark bay colt has license to run well at Monmouth. His dam, the Deputy Minister mare Atelier, won the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes (G2) for trainer Shug McGaughey here in 2002.

ATONED, Post 7, 6-1 - Trainer Todd Pletcher has added blinkers to the colt's equipment as he goes for an unprecedented third straight Haskell victory with the Dogwood Stable color bearer, who is stabled at Monmouth in the care of assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr.

Atoned was out on the Monmouth track Friday morning, galloping a mile and three-eighths with Madeline Sciametta aboard.

Atoned, who finished second in both his Monmouth preps for the Haskell - the Spend a Buck Stakes on June 14 and the Long Branch on July 12 - will race in blinkers for the first time Sunday.

The son of Repent, who has two wins and seven seconds in 12 lifetime starts, wore the blinkers last Saturday when he breezed a half-mile in :50 flat at Monmouth.

"I don't know whether he's been unlucky or underachieving or overachieving," Pletcher said of the five photo finishes Atoned has lost. "We're putting blinkers on him for this race to see if we can get him more focused."

Edgar Prado, who won the 2003 Haskell aboard Peace Rules, will take the mount on Atoned for the first time.

Pletcher has won the past two Haskells with Bluegrass Cat in 2006 and Any Given Saturday last year.

COAL PLAY, Post 6, 8-1/ COOL COAL MAN, Post 2, 4-1 - The two sons of Mineshaft both own victories at Monmouth for owner Robert V. LaPenta and trainer Nick Zito. The two colts have been working steadily at Saratoga for the Haskell, and are expected to ship to Monmouth early Sunday morning.

Coal Play made his first start at Monmouth memorable on May 25, when he led all the way at a mile and 70 yards, and then drew off late to win an allowance race by more than nine lengths for his second lifetime score.

In his next start on July 4, Coal Play raced wide while pressing the pace and had to settle for third.

Joe Bravo, who was aboard in both races here, will have the mount on Sunday as he seeks a second Haskell win. The 13-time champion Monmouth jockey won his first Haskell in 2004 aboard Lion Heart.

Cool Coal Man won his only Monmouth start, beating Atoned by a neck in the Spend a Buck Stakes in June, his most recent outing. Zito said he was happy the colt drew Post 2.

"I like the inside post for him," the trainer said. "I'm hoping he can save ground and run a nice race."

The colt was one of Zito's main Kentucky Derby hopes this winter when he won the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream. However, he turned in a poor effort over Keeneland's Polytrack in the Blue Grass Stakes, and then finished 15th - nearly 32 lengths behind Big Brown - in the Kentucky Derby. The Spend a Buck was his comeback effort after the Derby.

Eddie Castro, who rode Cool Coal Man in his stakes win here, has the mount for the Haskell. Castro finished fourth aboard Victory Lake in 2006, his only other Haskell mount.

MAGICAL FOREST, Post 1, 10-1 - The son of Forest Camp, who has won his last two, including the Grade 3 Barbaro Stakes at Delaware, will ship to Monmouth on Sunday morning from Aqueduct, where he's stabled with the other horses Joe DeMola trains for owner Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable.

DeMola said the rail post suits the colt just fine.

"I'm ecstatic about the post," DeMola said. "I was hoping for one, two or three, and got what I wanted. This colt has been getting better and better. He and Jorge (jockey Jorge Chavez) put it together in the Barbaro and I'm hoping they can do it again."

Magical Forest has taken four of 11 starts this year, but was fifth in his only Monmouth appearance, the six-furlong Rumson Stakes on May 31 when he appeared to dislike the muddy track.

However, when stretched out after the Rumson, Magical Forest won the Floor Show Stakes at Delaware in June, and followed with his Barbaro score on July 13.

This will be the third Haskell mount for Chavez, who was ninth aboard Halo Hansome in 1989, and sixth on Hero's Tribute in 2001.

NISTLE'S CRUNCH, Post 5, 15-1 -The New Jersey-bred son of Van Nistelrooy, who makes his first home state start Sunday, was able to gallop just three-eighths of a mile Friday morning before the track was closed for an hour because of an injured horse.

Peter Hutton, assistant to trainer Ken McPeek, accompanied the colt on his van ride from Churchill Downs on Thursday, and has galloped Nistle's Crunch here the past two days.

Hutton is a familiar figure at Monmouth because he has served as an assistant to both Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas. The English-born former jockey was with champion filly Silverbulletday here when she won the Monmouth Oaks in 1999, and came with Haskell runner Captain Steve, who was second to Dixie Union in 2000.

Hutton will not be staying for this Haskell, however. He leaves Saturday night for Russia with the McPeek-trained Racecar Rhapsody (fourth in the Preakness), who is scheduled to run in the Russian Derby at the Moscow Hippodrome later this month.

Nistle's Crunch, owned and bred by the Alien Farm of New Jersey residents Michael Harrison and Dr. Alan Furst, has made his last three starts on the grass. He is the only member of the Haskell field to have won on all three surfaces - dirt, turf and synthetic.

The colt breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 at Churchill Downs last Saturday.

He gets a new rider Sunday in Elvis Trujillo, who will be riding in his first Haskell.

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July 31, 2008
BIG BROWN DRAWS POST 4, INSTALLED 1-2 CHOICE AT MONMOUTH AS 7 ARE SET TO GO IN SUNDAY'S $1 MILLION HASKELL INVITATIONAL
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. -Big Brown, winner of two-thirds of the Triple Crown, drew Post 4 and was installed the odds-on favorite as a field of seven 3-year-olds was entered Thursday for Sunday's $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage, centerpiece of Monmouth's summer meeting.

Big Brown, who was unbeaten in five races before he was pulled up in the Belmont Stakes on June 7, will try to get back on the right track in this 41st running of the mile and an eighth Haskell, and Monmouth oddsmaker Brad Thomas has made him the 1-2 morning line favorite to resume his winning ways.

The son of Boundary had the outside posts when he won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and drew the rail for the Belmont. On Sunday, he goes from the center of the gate with three rivals left and three rivals right of him.

Trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. named Kent Desormeaux to ride Big Brown again in the Haskell.

The complete Haskell field consists of Paraneck Stable's Magical Forest, Post 1, Jorge Chavez, 10-1; Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man, Post 2, Eddie Castro, 4-1; Zayat Stable's Alaazo, Post 3, Jose Lezcano, 30-1; Big Brown; Alien Farm's Nistle's Crunch, Post 5, Elvis Trujillo; Robert LaPenta's Coal Play, Post 6, Joe Bravo, 8-1, and Dogwood Stable's Atoned, Post 7, Edgar Prado, 6-1.

Big Brown clicked off four straight wins as a 3-year-old, and came into the Belmont with a chance to become the first Triple Crown winner in 30 years. However, he was rank early and then could not make up any ground around the turn. Desormeaux pulled up the colt at the top of the stretch. There is still no definitive answer as to what went wrong.

Michael Iavarone, head of the IEAH Stables syndicate that owns Big Brown in partnership with Paul Pompa Jr., said he was looking forward to the Haskell because he feels fans will see the real Big Brown.

"We're eagerly anticipating this race," Iavarone said. "If it's possible, he's training better than he did before he won the Kentucky Derby."

Trainer Nick Zito, who saddled Da'Tara to upset the Belmont Stakes, has two of the Haskell entrants in Cool Coal Man and Coal Play, sons of Mineshaft who will race as separate betting interests.

Cool Coal Man was made the Haskell second choice at 4-1 based on his race here last out on June 14 when he won the Spend a Buck Stakes by a neck over Atoned. The race marked Cool Coal Man's comeback after a disastrous trip in the Kentucky Derby, where he finished 15th, more than 31 lengths behind Big Brown. Earlier this winter, the colt won the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream.

"I like the inside post (2) for him," Zito said. "I'm hoping he can save ground and run a nice race."

Coal Play has yet to win a stakes race, but also owns a win over the Monmouth track. He beat older horses by more than nine lengths here on May 25, and last out was third in an allowance, again against older.

"He likes Monmouth Park, and ran big there in his first start over the track. He may have bounced last time, I'm not really sure what happened. He has all the attributes to be a nice horse. I'm just hoping he can put it all together."

Bravo said he looks forward to riding the colt again.

"First time I rode this horse he ran huge," the jockey said. "I had such high hopes after that race, and then he came back to run poorly. The truth is, I learned more about him when we lost than when we won."

Atoned, third choice at 6-1, is trained by Todd Pletcher, who is seeing an unprecedented third straight victory in the Haskell. Pletcher won with Bluegrass Cat in 2006 and Any Given Saturday last year. The colt by Repent has had a "bridesmaid" syndrome his whole career (two wins and seven seconds in 12 starts), but both his lifetime wins have come at Monmouth.

"I don't know whether he's been unlucky or underachieving or overachieving," Pletcher said of the five photos Atoned has lost. "We're trying to figure that out. We're putting blinkers on him for this race to see if we can get him more focused.

"He's performed so well every time we've run him that we feel he deserves a chance in a race as prestigious as the Haskell," the trainer said.

And the chance of hitting a Haskell hat-trick?

"This race is a tall order for any horse," Pletcher said. "But we're confident he's doing well and will give his very best. And maybe we can get lucky."

Magical Forest, trained by Joe DeMola, comes into the Haskell off two straight stakes scores at Delaware, including the Grade 3 Barbaro last out with Jorge Chavez aboard. The son of Forest Camp breaks from the rail in the Haskell.

"I'm ecstatic about the post," DeMola said. "I was hoping for one, two or three and got what I wanted. This colt has been getting better and better. He and Jorge put it together in the Barbaro and I'm hoping they can do it again."

Trainer Ken McPeek said he expects Nistle's Crunch to give his best, as always, in the Haskell. The colt by Van Nistelrooy is the only New Jersey-bred in the race, owned and bred by state residents Michael Harrison and Dr. Alan Furst.

"He's a versatile horse - he's won on turf, dirt and Polytrack - and he tries hard every time," McPeek said. "The owners are from New Jersey and the Haskell is very special to them.

"This horse is very professional, rock-solid," the trainer said. "Aside from Big Brown, the Haskell looks wide open."

Alaazo, a son of A.P. Indy who is trained by Bill Mott, has strong Monmouth connections. The colt broke his maiden here last August in his first career start, and he is out of the Deputy Minister mare Atelier, who won the 2002 running of the Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Stakes (G2) over this track.

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July 27, 2008
MONMOUTH CANCELS AFTER 5TH RACE DUE TO INCLEMENT WEATHER
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Monmouth Park Racetrack cancelled live racing following the running of the 5th race on Sunday due to inclement weather that included heavy rains and lightning.

"The safety of our riders and our horses is our paramount concern," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.  "With the weather conditions we experienced, and no break in sight, we were left with not other option than to cancel the remainder of the card."

The 5,393 racing fans in attendance can bring their programs back for any live racing date, excluding Haskell Day on Aug. 3, for free admission.

Monmouth Park will continue live racing on Wednesday, July 30 as the track kicks off Haskell week, culminating with the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday.  First post from Wednesday through Saturday will be 12:50 p.m. with live racing getting underway at noon on Sunday.

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July 27, 2008
SHOPTON LANE NEVER HEADED IN SKIP AWAY AT MONMOUTH; FELLOW CRASHER UPSETS 1-10 NOTONTHESAMEPAGE IN TYRO
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Maggi Moss's Shopton Lane took charge out of the gate and never looked back, scoring by two and a half lengths in the $70,000 Skip Away Stakes at Monmouth Park Saturday.

In the day's second feature, Fellow Crasher rallied in the stretch to capture the $65,000 Tyro Stakes for 2-year-olds.

No one picked all six winners in the 60-Minute Six wager, and there will be a carryover of $46,881 into next Saturday's 60-Minute Six pool.

Shopton Lane stopped the timer in 1:44 1/5 for the mile and a sixteenth over a fast track and paid $7.80, $5 and $4.40 acorss the board as third choice in the field of five. Longshots Judiths Wild Rush and Sinners N Saints filled the next two spots as Gottcha Gold, the even-money favorite, and Indy Wind, second choice at 2-1, were fourth and fifth, respectively.

The Skip Away serves as a prep for Monmouth's $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Stakes(G3) to be run on Aug. 16

Bruce Levine, Monmouth's leading conditioner, trains Shopton Lane, a 4-year-old son of Quiet American who had Jose Lezcano, Monmouth's leading rider, aboard for the first time.

Judiths Wild Rush completed the $84.40 exacta and paid $9.20 and $6.20 after finishing nearly two lengths in front of Sinners N Saints, who paid $5.20 to show.

The race was a surprise right from the gate as Shopton Lane, not Gottcha Gold as expected, took command and opened a daylight lead around the first turn. He continued to lead through fractions of :23 1/5, :46 1/5 and 1:10 3/5 and was never seriously threatened to the wire.

"I knew my horse has early speed, so I just went to the front from the gate," Lezcano said. "Gottcha Gold didn't go for the early lead, so I was able to get my horse to relax up front. He turned it on for me when I asked him."

In the Tyro Stakes, a prep for the Grade 3 Sapling to be run here on Aug. 31, Fellow Crasher ranged up into contention entering the stretch and zoomed past the front-running 1-10 favorite Notonthesamepage at the eighth pole, drawing off to score by two and a half lengths.

The winner, trained by Anthony Dutrow and ridden by Joe Bravo, raced the five and a half furlongs over a fast main track in 1:03 1/5 and paid $11 to win as second choice in the field of three 2-year-olds. Rapid Redux was 12 1/4 lengths farther behind in third.

Notonthesamepage showed his considerable speed early, clipping off fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 2/5. Bravo moved Fellow Crasher into striking position rounding the turn and once straightened away, pounced on the leader and then drew off in the final sixteenth.

This was the second straight win for Fellow Crasher, a son of Graeme Hall who broke his maiden at Philly Park on July 6. He is owned by the partnership of Dubb, Grant & Bayard.

"I didn't know what I was sitting on until the gates opened," Bravo said. "He broke well and relaxed for a bit. He really turned it on for me in the lane when I got into him. This is a really nice colt."

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July 26, 2008
BIG BROWN, ATONED, NISTLE'S CRUNCH BREEZE FOR HASKELL
Monmouth Park.com

Big Brown, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who will kick off the second half of his season in the $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage on Sunday Aug. 3, and Dogwood Stable's Atoned and Alien Farm's Nistle's Crunch all turned in fast breezes Saturday morning.   

Big Brown, owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., zipped six furlongs in 1:10 4/5 at Aqueduct with exercise rider Michelle Nevin aboard.

The Rick Dutrow Jr.-trained colt has not started since June 7, when he was pulled up in the Belmont Stakes for his first loss in six career starts. He has been working steadily at Aqueduct since the beginning of July for his comeback race in the Grade 1 Haskell. Kent Desormeaux will ride.

Atoned, trained by Todd Pletcher, drilled a half-mile in :50 flat over the fast Monmouth strip, with blinkers on for the first time. Madeline Sciametta, wife of Pletcher assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr., was aboard.

Clockers noted the Repent colt worked strongly, getting the first quarter in :26 2/5, and the second quarter in :23 3/5. Atoned galloped out five furlongs in a sharp 1:01 3/5, and went six furlongs eased up in 1:16.

"I don't know how much the blinkers helped," Sciametta said. "He always works good. Todd will decide whether he wears them in the Haskell."

Pletcher, who will be trying for an unprecedented third straight Haskell victory with Atoned, said he was going to experiment with blinkers in a workout before deciding on a change of equipment for the race.

Atoned has had a case of "seconditis" all through his career (he has two wins and seven seconds in 12 lifetime starts), and has been runner-up in both his Monmouth starts this year, finishing behind Cool Coal Man in the Spend a Buck Stakes and Truth Rules in the Long Branch Stakes.

Nistle's Crunch, a New Jersey-bred son of Van Nistelrooy trained by Ken McPeek, breezed five furlongs in 1:00 3/5 over the fast main track at Churchill Downs. The drill was the second-best of 28 at the distance Saturday morning.

The colt was bred by his owners - Michael Harrison and Dr. Alan Furst - who race as the Alien Farm.

No rider has been named yet for Nistle's Crunch, who will be making his first start on the dirt since the March 29 Florida Derby, where he was seventh behind Big Brown. He has a win, a second and a third in three turf starts since then.

Nistle's Crunch is expected to arrive at Monmouth on Tuesday after a van ride from Kentucky.

Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn, trained by Eddie Plesa Jr., is scheduled to breeze at Monmouth on Sunday morning for the Haskell. The colt by Put It Back, who finished a troubled fourth in the Long Branch, will have a change of rider next Sunday when Edgar Prado takes the mount. Prado has won both times he rode Hey Byrn, scoring in two allowance events at Gulfstream Park.

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July 25, 2008
NISTLE'S CRUNCH RETURNS TO NATIVE SOIL FOR HASKELL
Monmouth Park.com

The $1 million Haskell Invitational Presented by Vonage will be a homecoming for Nistle's Crunch, one of the 3-year-olds who will challenge Big Brown in Monmouth's signature event on Sunday, Aug. 3.

Nistle's Crunch, trained by Ken McPeek, will be making his first start on native soil in the Haskell, since the New Jersey-bred colt has been doing all his racing to date in Kentucky, Virginia and Florida.

The bay son of Van Nistlerooy - Sam Eye Am, by Island Whirl, was bred by his owners, Michael Harrison and Dr. Alan Furst, and foaled at Joe and Karen Jennings' Walnford Farm in Allentown, N.J.

Harrison, an attorney who lives in Chester, N.J., and Dr. Furst, a medical practitioner who lives in Harding Township, N.J., own the colt under their partnership name of Alien Farm LLC.

The stable name comes not from a positive E.T. sighting but from the first horse the two men owned together, Alien Strike.

"We've been friends for 28 years," said Harrison, who is also president of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey. "We got Alien Strike when she was 2, in 1994, and she was a winner right away and went on to win stakes. She gave us a lot of thrills, especially since it was our first horse. I guess we thought it would always be that easy.

"After that we named the stable for her, and that's how it came to be Alien Farm," he said.

The partners are currently racing a son of Alien Strike - See Morgan First - who broke his maiden at Monmouth in 2004.

The Nistle's Crunch story starts in 1996, when the partners claimed a mare by Henbane named Sammy Ammy from a Monmouth maiden race for $32,000. The mare went on to win twice, and was retired and bred to Island Whirl in the spring of 1998.

The resulting foal - the first horse the partners ever bred -- was a filly they named Sam Eye Am, who won the Miss Liberty Stakes at the Meadowlands and scored in a Monmouth turf allowance. She was retired in October of 2003 with a 4-3-3 record in 23 starts, and the next spring was bred to Van Nistlerooy in Kentucky.

Sam Eye Am was sent back to New Jersey, where she dropped her foal at Walnford Farm on March 15, 2005.

"We put the foal in a Kentucky yearling sale in 2006," Harrison said. "He didn't make his reserve, and we bought him back for $53,000.

"He went to Julia Householder in Kentucky to be broken, and her farm is close to Ken McPeek's place," Harrison said, "and that's how Ken became the trainer."

Nistle's Crunch, who was given his confectionary name by Dr. Furst, broke his maiden at second asking at Keeneland last fall. This year, the colt has won on both dirt and turf, and in his last two starts, he was placed in graded stakes on the grass.

"His only bad race this year was the Florida Derby," Harrison said of the March 29 event at Gulfstream where Nistle's Crunch finished 19 lengths behind Big Brown. "He was just too fast early that day and tired."

McPeek is still shopping for a Haskell rider for Nistle's Crunch. The trainer said the colt will arrive at Monmouth by van from Kentucky either Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Nistle's Crunch is scheduled to breeze at Churchill Downs Saturday.

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July 25, 2008
$100,000 GUARANTEED POOL SET FOR 60-MINUTE SIX SATURDAY
Monmouth Park.com

 

The 60-Minute Six, a new pick six wager that combines races from four Eastern tracks, will again have a $100,000 guaranteed pool this Saturday.

This Saturday's 60-Minute Six will combine the sixth and seventh races from Saratoga; the seventh race from Monmouth; the eighth and ninth races from Delaware Park, and the ninth race from Philadelphia Park. The races are chosen so all six will run within a one-hour span. The Saratoga race will be the first leg with a 3:39 p.m. post. The Delaware race will be the final leg with a post time of 4:21.

The 60-Minute Six will be offered every Saturday through Aug. 30, and has a $2 base wager, with $1 part wheels available.   If no one successfully selects all six winners, 75 percent of the pool will carryover to the following Saturday's 60-Minute Six. 

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July 24, 2008
STALLIONS NAMED FOR TAYLOR MADE MATCHMAKER STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

The $150,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (G3) has been a unique event since its inception in 1967. In addition to its cash prize, the race offers stallion seasons to the first three finishers in the mile and an eighth turf event.

Taylor Made Stallions, Inc, which sponsors the Matchmaker, announced that this year's seasons will be to Wildcat Heir, Northern Afleet and Southern Image. Wildcat Heir stands at Journeyman Stud in Ocala, Florida while Northern Afleet and Southern Image stand at Taylor Made's facility in Nicholasville, Ky.

"The Taylor Made Matchmaker is steeped in tradition and some true greats have won this race in the past with the likes of Politely, Numbered Account, and Susan's Girl to name just a few. We are proud to be part of such an historical race," said Ben Taylor, Vice President, Taylor Made Stallions.

This year's Taylor Made Matchmaker, to be contested on Sunday, Aug. 3, Haskell Day, marks the fourth year that Monmouth Park and Taylor Made have teamed up to present the race.

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July 24, 2008
BIG BROWN LIKELY TO HAVE SIX TO SEVEN FOES IN HASKELL
Monmouth Park.com

Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown will likely see six or seven rivals when he kicks off the second half of his 3-year-old season in Monmouth's $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, Aug. 3.

Mike Dempsey, Monmouth's director of racing, said Thursday he expects a field of seven or eight will line up for the 41st running of the Haskell, including some horses who have already enjoyed success over the racing surface here.

Big Brown, owned by IEAH Stables and Paul Pompa Jr., has been training steadily at Rick Dutrow Jr.'s Aqueduct base. The son of Boundary was unbeaten in five lifetime starts until he lost his Triple Crown bid in the Belmont Stakes.

Those considered likely to challenge Big Brown in Monmouth's mile and an eighth classic are Atoned, Cool Coal Man, Hey Byrn, Nistle's Crunch, Tale of Ekati and Truth Rules.  Magical Forest remains a possibility for the Haskell.

Cool Coal Man and Truth Rules, both owned by Robert LaPenta and trained by Nick Zito, are winners over the track. Cool Coal Man took the Spend a Buck Stakes here in his last start on June 14, while Truth Rules has a perfect three-for-three record at Monmouth. The son of Vindication broke his maiden here in May, won an allowance race in June, and last out on July 11 scored in the Long Branch Stakes, Monmouth's main prep for the Haskell.

Dogwood Stable's Atoned has a mark of 2-3-0 in five starts at Monmouth. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt broke his maiden and won the Continental Mile Stakes here last year, and this year has run second in both the Spend a Buck and Long Branch stakes.

Pletcher is going for an unprecedented third straight Haskell victory this year. He won the race in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat, and last year with Any Given Saturday.

Charles E. Fipke's Tale of Ekati, training at Saratoga with Barclay Tagg's string, ran in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last October here, finishing fourth behind War Pass. The son of Tale of the Cat turned in a sharp breeze at the Spa on Wednesday, getting five furlongs in 1:00 flat.

Bea Oxenberg's Hey Byrn, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in April, finished a troubled fourth in the Long Branch last out, his first Monmouth start for trainer Eddie Plesa Jr.

Nistle's Crunch, owned by Alien Farm and trained by Ken McPeek, will be making his first start in his native state. The New Jersey-bred son of Van Nistlerooy is coming off three straight turf races, including a victory at Keeneland.

Magical Forest, owned by Ernie Paragallo's Paraneck Stable and trained by Joe DeMola, finished fifth in the Rumson Stakes run on a muddy track here on May 21. He came out of that sprint to win two mile and a sixteenth stakes at Delaware Park.

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July 23, 2008
CHANGE OF EQUIPMENT COULD BOOST ATONED TO WINNER'S CIRCLE
Monmouth Park.com

Dogwood Stable's Atoned, who has developed a case of seconditis since his two victories at Monmouth last year, is likely to get a chance to make amends in a big way in the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Aug. 3, trainer Todd Pletcher said.

"We're certainly thinking of the Haskell," said Pletcher, who was on hand at Monmouth Wednesday to look over the string he has stabled here with assistant trainer Anthony Sciametta Jr.
"I have to discuss it again with Mr. Campbell (Dogwood president Cot Campbell) before we make a final decision," the trainer said.

The Haskell is scheduled to be the start of the second season for Big Brown, whose Triple Crown try ended in the Belmont, and at least five 3-year-olds are expected to challenge the Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner.

Pletcher, who would be going for an unprecedented third straight Haskell victory with Atoned, said that he might be making a change of equipment for Atoned's next start.
"It's amazing that he's run as well as he has and finished second as many times as he has," Pletcher said. "And he's been second a variety of ways. He's gone to the front too soon at times, and then been too late other times. He's shown hints of moving forward in his races, but he's been kind of a bridesmaid.

"We think he needs a little edge, and maybe blinkers will be that edge. We're thinking of working him in blinkers to see how he responds."

Pletcher won the Grade 1 Haskell in 2006 with Bluegrass Cat and last year with Any Given Saturday, both of whom carried more impressive credentials into Monmouth's signature event.
However, Atoned has flashed signs of brilliance, and even more important a love of the Monmouth racing strip, in his 12 lifetime outings.

The son of Repent was second by a head in his career debut here last June, and then broke his maiden at Monmouth last August. He followed that by winning the Continental Mile Stakes, run on the main track last year.

Then came a string of four seconds, all in stakes, that spilled over from his 2-year-old to his 3-year-old year. On the Triple Crown trail, Atoned was second by a neck in the Grade 2 Remsen, and second by a neck in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby.

He came off his two worst outings of the year (a fourth in the Illinois Derby and an eighth in the Lexington Stakes, both Grade 2) with a rousing late-running second to Cool Coal Man here in the Spend a Buck Stakes. Last out, he made the lead in midstretch in the Long Branch Stakes, but got nailed on the wire by Truth Rules.

In addition to Big Brown and Atoned, other Haskell probables include Truth Rules, Cool Coal Man, Nistle's Crunch and Hey Byrn.  The Haskell remains a possibility for Tale of Ekati.

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July 23, 2008
JOSE VELEZ JR. RETURNING TO RIDE AT MONMOUTH WEDNESDAY
Monmouth Park.com

Jockey Jose Velez Jr., who tried a new scene this year riding at Tampa Bay in the winter and Arlington Park in the summer, will return to the Monmouth riding colony next week.

Velez, who has enjoyed steady success at Monmouth over the years, winning multiple graded stakes, including the Iselin in 2002 and 2005, will have his first mounts here next Wednesday.

His agent at Monmouth will be Kevin Lyons.

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July 22. 2008
RERUN OPENS OFFICES AT MONMOUTH PARK
Monmouth Park.com

Continuing their commitment to one another and to the health, safety and welfare of the Thoroughbreds on the racetrack and their life thereafter, Monmouth Park Racetrack has provided office space to ReRun, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, which provides care and rehabilitation to off the track Thoroughbreds while awaiting adoptive homes.

“This is really win-win for everyone involved,” said Bill Knauf, assistant general manager of Monmouth Park.  “Monmouth Park has always been supportive of programs such as ReRun and we look forward to working together in the future, offering assistance and helping them achieve their goals and objectives.”

The ReRun offices, which are set to open this week, are located on the concourse level of the Administration Building, located just behind the paddock at the racetrack.  Open to the public and horsemen, the office will have set hours as it provides a wide variety of help and information not only about ReRun, but other options, programs and sources of networking about horses who are retired from racing.

“Monmouth Park has been so good to ReRun over the past nine years,” said Laurie Condurso-Lane, president of ReRun.  “This is more than I could have hoped for.  It is a wonderful opportunity for our organization and one that will ultimately benefit what we all care about - the horses.”  

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July 20, 2008
SLY STORM ROLLS TO VICTORY IN THE MONGO QUEEN STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Glen Hill Farm's Sly Storm kicked clear of her foes to post a 3 1/2 length win in the $70,000 Mongo Queen Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Trained by Thomas Proctor, Sly Storm covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09 1/5 and returned $4.40, $2.80 and $2.20 as the favorite in the field of six 3-year-old fillies.  Shining Image completed the $22.60 exacta and returned $3.80 to place and $2.40 to show.  It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Throbbin' Heart, who returned $2.20 to show.

"It was an easy ride for me," said winning jockey Jose Lezcano.  "She broke well and was able to relax a little bit down the backside.  Turning for home I called on her and she gave me everything she had."

Sunday's stakes score was the third win in four starts for Sly Storm, a daughter of Storm Cat from the Broad Brush mare Brushed Halory.  She has now earned $108,906 for her connections.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, July 23 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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July 19, 2008
BEAU DARE WINS KLASSY BRIEFCASE STAKES, EQUALS TRACK RECORD ON MONMOUTH TURF; SOPHIE'S SALAD 2ND, DON'T STOP DREAMIN 3RD

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Walts David Stable's Beau Dare took command out of the gate and was never headed as she equaled the course record in winning the $60,000 Klassy Briefcase Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Beau Dare, trained by Monmouth's leading conditioner Bruce Levine and ridden by Stewart Elliott, stopped the timer in 1:01.85 for five and a half furlongs on the firm turf course, exactly matching the mark set by In Summation last year and Chitoz last month.

The 5-year-old mare by Military scored by a half-length and paid $6.20, $3.60 and $2.80 across the board as the favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares.

Sophie's Salad, who tried her best to get by the winner, settled for the place, paying $4.20 to place and $3.20 to show and completing the $27.20 exacta. Don't Stop Dreamin was a half-length farther back in third and paid $3.40 to show.

There was very little drama in the running of the Klassy Briefcase. Elliott got Beau Dare away alertly from her outside post, and the mare made all the running, getting a quarter in :22 1/5 and a half in :45. Through the stretch she maintained her advantage over Sophie's Salad for the final furlong.

"Knowing she had speed, I figured we'd be close up early on," said Elliott. "She broke so good that I put her right on the front end. She went to the front and started rolling. That horse (Sophie's Salad) came up and challenged us in the stretch, but I felt I had enough horse left, and I did."

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July 16, 2008
WEEKEND TO REMEMBER FOR 'FAGEDABOUDIT' GANG
Monmouth Park.com

First there was Fagedaboudit Sal. Then came Fagedaboudit Gal. Now there's Fagedaboudit Pal. Has Salvatore Racing Stable gone over the top? Fagedaboutit!

The racing stable owned by Salvatore Tringola, who named all the horses, came into the spotlight last weekend when "Sal," the 6-year-old New Jersey-bred by Yarrow Brae, led every step at 39-1 to win the Bob Harding Stakes in his first turf start on Saturday, and "Gal," a 3-year-old Unbridled filly, broke her maiden on turf at 12-1 on Sunday.

"Sal" has run well against New Jersey-breds in the past, winning the Bernie Dowd and Lincroft handicaps here last year. But the Harding was an open event, and marked his turf debut. Even the owner was skeptical.

"Sal called me on Friday and asked if I was drinking when I made the entry," said trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. with a smile. "He said we were in over our heads, and he wanted me to scratch the horse.

"I told him that the horse had some turf pedigree and was doing really well. I figured he would like the turf course really firm. I knew he was going to the front from the start, and they would have to catch him.

"Sal said he thought I was crazy, but go ahead," Carvajal said. "And it worked out great."

"Gal," still a maiden after 10 starts, apparently caught the winning stable vibes Saturday night because on Sunday, she came out rolling in a mile and a sixteenth maiden claimer on the grass and led every step.

But Carvajal will have to wait a while to complete the triple. "Pal," a 2-year-old colt by Tree, bucked shins after his first career start here on May 18. He'll be back by mid-August, though, so pay attention.

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July 14, 2008
DANCE HALL DAYS TAKES SERENA'S SONG STAKES; ROUSE THE CAT LOWERS COURSE RECORD IN McSORLEY SCORE
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Edward P. Evans's Dance Hall Days split horses in late stretch to post a neck victory in the $70,000 Serena's Song Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

In the $60,000 John McSorley Stakes, Rouse the Cat came home a three quarter length winner and stopped the timer in 1:01.75, besting the old track record of 1:01.91 set just one day prior by Sir Winston.

Trained by Anthony Dutrow, Dance Hall Days covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:44 1/5 and returned $23.60, $13.40 and $7.40.  Hartigan completed the $143.20 exacta and paid $7.40 and $3.20.  It was another neck back to Awesome I Am, who paid $5.20 to show.  Charming, the 6-5 choice, pulled up around the far turn after leading throughout.

"She didn't break too sharp," said winning jockey Jose Lezcano, "so I took her back off the pace and settled in behind horses.  Turning for home I started to ask her and she kicked in pretty well for me.  She split horses gamely and dug in."

The Serena's Song win was the third in seven starts for Dance Hall Days, a 3-year-old filly by Seeking Daylight from the Capote mare Dance Move.  She has now earned $120,300 for her owner.

Trained by Ollie L. Figgins III, Rouse the Cat engaged the early pacesetter Southwestern Heat before putting away that rival inside the 1/8th pole to score the upset win.  Rouse the Cat returned $40.20, $12.60 and $6.20 and topped a $147.20 exacta.  Our Friend Harvey, the 2-1 favorite, returned $3 to place and $2.20 to show.  Lord Robyn finished another length back in third and paid $4 to show.

"It was a really fast trip," said winning rider Christopher Vanhassel.  "I couldn't believe how fast we were going.  I had to lean on him real hard around the turn because we took it so sharply.  I got the lead and before I knew we were at the wire already."

Sunday's score was the seventh in 13 starts for Rouse the Cat, a 4-year-old by Sir Cat from the Strike Gold mare Crouse Mill.  He increased his lifetime earnings to $133,800.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, July 16 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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July 13, 2008
PICK 5, PICK 4 CARRYOVERS FOR SUNDAY; 60-MINUTE SIX CARRYOVER NEXT SATURDAY
Monmouth Park.com

With several longshots late on the Saturday card at Monmouth Park, carryovers in the Pick 5 and the Pick 4 will await players on the Sunday, July 13 program.

In addition, in the 60-Minute Six, no one correctly selected all winners in that wager, providing a carryover into next Saturday's 60-Minute Six.

Monmouth's Saturday Pick 5 got underway in the fifth race with Most Distinguished ($5.60).  Fleet Appeal ($6.20) won the sixth as Travolta ($21.40) took the seventh.  Fagedaboudit Sal ($80.40) lit up the tote board in the eighth race, the Bob Harding Stakes, just before Truth Rules ($35.80) sprung the upset in the Long Branch Stakes.  Four out of five winners returned $422.60 for the 50-cent wager.

A carryover of $17,429 awaits Pick 5 players on Sunday's Monmouth card, which gets underway with race five.

Saturday's late Pick 4 at Monmouth combined Travolta, Fagedaboudit Sal and Truth Rules with Bold Survivor ($5.20) in the finale.  Three out of four returned $198.90 for $1.

The carryover of $21,483 will be added to the pool for Sunday's early Pick 4, which starts with race two.

The 60-Minute Six, which combines races at Monmouth Park, Belmont Park, Delaware Park and Philadelphia Park, also had the top prize go unclaimed as no one correctly selected all six winners.

The 60-Minute Six started with Belmont's sixth race when Senor Musician ($13.60) came home on top.  Travolta took the second leg as Proud Spell ($2.60) captured the third leg, race eight from Delaware.  The wager continued at Philly Park, as Gran Cesare ($8.60) won the fourth leg and Fagedaboudit Sal captured the penultimate race in the bet.  Rain Date ($4.80) completed the 60-Minute Six.  Five out of six winners paid $702 for $1.

A carryover of $67,440 awaits players for next Saturday's 60-Minute Six, a wager that will be offered every Saturday through Aug. 30.

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July 12, 2008
CHARLES HESSE 3rd HANDICAP ON AUG. 3 TO CARRY $100,000 PURSE
Monmouth Park.com

The top New Jersey-bred contest on the Haskell Day undercard on Sunday, August 3, will be the Charles Hesse 3rd Handicap, which has received a purse boost to $100,000.

Monmouth director of racing Mike Dempsey said that Marianne Hesse had contributed $40,000 to the purse of the race named for her late husband. The mile and 70-yard race was slated to have a $60,000 purse.

"Charlie and Marianne Hesse have been great contributors to New Jersey's racing program for more than 30 years," Dempsey said, "and this is just the latest example of their generosity."

The Hesses, who lived in Leonardo, N.J., raced as the Char-Mari Stable for 30 years, and Mrs. Hesse still races in the Char-Mari colors. She is also a partner in the Double H Stable with Mrs. Leon Hess.

Mr. Hesse, whose father built the original Monmouth racing strip in 1946, passed away in 2006.

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July 12, 2008
TRUTH RULES UPSETS ATONED IN LONG BRANCH AT MONMOUTH; FAGEDABOUDIT SAL, $80, SCORES SHOCKER IN HARDING ON TURF
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Upsets ruled at Monmouth Park on Saturday as Robert LaPenta's Truth Rules scored a shocker in the $150,000 Long Branch Stakes and Salvatore Racing Stable's Fagedaboudit Sal, the longest shot on the board, captured the $70,000 Bob Harding Stakes on turf.

Truth Rules, sent off the absolute outsider in the field of five 3-year-olds at 16-1, rallied from dead last on the turn to run down favored Atoned by a head at the wire, stopping the timer in 1:45 1/5 for the mile and a sixteenth.

The victory likely earned the colt a berth in Monmouth's $1 million Haskell Invitational on August 3.

The son of Vindication, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Stewart Elliott, paid $35.80, $9.40 and $3.20 across the board and topped the $94.80 exacta. Atoned, sent off the 9-5 favorite, paid $3.40 and $2.10, and Z Humor, who was three and a quarter lengths farther behind, paid $2.10 to show.

Elliott took Truth Rules back to last early as Indy Joe carved out early fractions of :24 for the quarter and :47 4/5 for the half. Coming into the stretch, Atoned made a move between horses to reach the lead while Truth Rules was circling the field on the outside.

In the final sixteenth, Truth Rules made a determined run at the leader and caught Atoned at the wire.

"They told me before the race that I'd be in the back," Elliott said. "There was a lot of speed in the race. About the half-mile pole, I eased him out because he didn't seem to like the dirt coming back at him.

"He was picking it up a little and then I just tapped him a couple of times and he started moving a little quicker. At the quarter-pole the other horses were all together and I thought I had a shot at it. Atoned kicked away from me a little bit in the stretch, but my horse just kept digging and got up when it mattered."

This was the third straight victory at Monmouth for Truth Rules, who broke his maiden here in May and won an allowance last month.

In the Bob Harding Stakes, Fagedaboudit Sal had a memorable debut on the grass as he led from start to finish as a rank outsider and beat Kiss the Kid, the 3-2 favorite, by a length and a half.

The winner, trained by Luis Carvajal Jr. and ridden by Pablo Fragoso, stepped the one mile over firm turf in 1:34 3/5 and paid $80.40, $23.80 and $10.60 across the board as the longest shot in the field of 10.

Kiss the Kid made a belated rally to get second, paying $3.80 to place and $3 to show and completed the $433.20 exacta. Classic Campaign, second choice at 2-1, was a length and a quarter farther back and paid $2.80 to show.

This was the first-ever turf try for Fagedaboudit Sal, a 5-year-old son of Yarrow Brae who was the only New Jersey-bred in the field. The gray gelding improved his record at Monmouth to 6-4-2 in 23 starts here. The winner's share of $42,000 raised his lifetime total to $369,838 for the Salvatore Racing Stable.

Fagedaboudit Sal came out of the gate running and clipped off fractions of :24 1/5 for the quarter, :48 for the half and 1:11 for the six furlongs. He stayed strong through the stretch, racing the last quarter in :23 3/5.

"Our goal was to get to the Hesse Handicap (state-bred race on Aug. 3)," Carvajal said. "There wasn't a race between now and then and I didn't want to wait that long, so we took a shot in here. I've always had confidence in this horse, so we gave him a try on the grass. Obviously it worked out well. We'll go back to the main track in the Hesse after this."

Fragoso said, "Luis told me that if this horse takes to the grass, he'll give everything he has. That's exactly what happened today. We got soft early fractions and this horse gave it his all."

In the second race of the day, Sir Winston established a new turf course record for five and a half furlongs on the hedge as he won the claiming event by a half-length.

The 4-year-old son of Dance Master, with Stewart Elliott aboard, carried 119 pounds over the distance in 1:01.91 to easily eclipse the old mark of 1:02.49 set in August of 2006 by Terrific Challenge.

Sir Winston's record is for the exact distance of five and a half furlongs with no temporary rail in place. Terrific Challenge still holds the record for the "about" five and a half furlongs on the hedge with his 1:01 flat clocking in September of 2006.

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July 8, 2008
LEZCANO, LEVINE, BROOME TOP MONMOUTH STANDINGS
Monmouth Park.com

With 39 of the 99 days of racing at the 2008 Monmouth Park meet in the books, Jose Lezcano tops the rider standings; Bruce Levine leads all trainers; and Eddie Broome shows the way in the race for top owner.

Through Sunday’s race card, Lezcano, a 23-year-old native of Panama, has 56 wins, one more than Eddie Castro.  Thirteen time riding champion Joe Bravo is third with 46 victories, 16 more than the pair of C.H. Marquez Jr. and Pedro Cotto Jr.

Over in the trainer’s race, Bruce Levine continues to dominate, sending out 30 winners from 65 starters.  Eddie Broome is second with 16 wins, six more than the trio of Richard Dutrow Jr., Gregg Sacco and Kelly John Breen.

Eddie Broome, with ten winners, tops the race for top owner.  Repole Stable is second with nine wins, one more than George and Lori Hall.

The 2008 Monmouth Park season runs through Sunday, Sept. 28.  First post is 12:50 p.m.
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July 8, 2008
ST. PATRICK’S DAY IN JULY RETURNS THIS SUNDAY AT MONMOUTH

Monmouth Park.com

It’s time to break out the green for the annual St. Patrick’s Day in July celebration at Monmouth Park this Sunday, July 13.

All those “wearin’ o’ the green” will receive free grandstand or half-price clubhouse admission as well as an entry blank to win a trip for two to Ireland.

Sponsored by Guinness, the St. Patrick’s Day in July celebration will include the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Pipe & Drum Band performing on the track and the Bobby Byrne Band playing “On the Green.”  In addition, traditional Irish food will be on the menu at concession stands and in restaurants throughout the track.

As always on Sundays at Monmouth Park it’s Family Fun Day, with clowns, pony rides, face painters, bounce houses and more to entertain the kids.

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July 6, 2008
DYNA'S LASSIE TAKES MISS LIBERTY STAKES AT MONMOUTH; COLTS NECK HANDICAP TO WHO'S THE COWBOY
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Eldon Farm Racing Stable's Dyna's Lassie kept her 2008 record a perfect two-for-two in winning the $70,000 Miss Liberty Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

In the day's other stakes event, Gerald Sleeter's Who's the Cowboy got back to his winning ways at Monmouth Park, taking the $60,000 Colts Neck Handicap, the 6-year-old gelding's first win in nearly two years.

Dyna's Lassie, a 4-year-old filly by Dynaformer from the Thunder Gulch mare Tortuga Lady, covered the mile and a sixteenth over "good" turf in 1:42 3/5 and returned $19.80, $9.40 and $6.80.  Rasta Farian, who finished a half-length back in second, rallied up the inside to complete a $157.60 exacta and paid $8.20 and $5.  It was another length and a quarter back to Bachata, the favorite, who returned $3.40 to show in the field of 12 fillies and mares.

"She's a very professional, push-button kind of horse," said winning rider Carlos H. Marquez Jr.  "I found a hole at the 3/8ths pole and when I pushed the button she just took off from there."

Trained by Doug Fout, Dyna's Lassie improved her lifetime mark to 4-3-0 from seven starts.  Sunday's win increased her lifetime earnings to $113,190.  Her connections indicated that her next start will be the Grade 3 $150,000 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes here at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 - Haskell Day. 

Ridden by Stewart Elliott, Who's the Cowboy covered the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09 4/5 and returned $5.80, $3.40 and $2.40 as the second choice in the field of seven New Jersey-bred colts and geldings.  It was three-quarters of a length back to Bythebeautifulsea who completed a $28 exacta and paid $4.60 to place and $2.40 to show.  Hey Chub, sent off the 8-5 choice, was another head back in third, good for a $2.20 show mutuel.

"We're just happy to get the win," said Kevin Sleeter, who conditions the horse for his father.  "It's good to see him back in the winner's circle.  He ran his race today, and it all worked out."

Who's the Cowboy was last seen in the Monmouth winner's circle in the Friendly Lover Handicap on Sept. 16, 2006.  The homebred son of Intensity from the Better Arbitor mare Image's Image has now banked $714,360 for his connections.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, July 9 - first post 12:50 p.m. 

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July 5, 2008
17TH ANNUAL BACKSTRETCH APPRECIATION DAY SET JULY 14
Monmouth Park.com

The 17th annual Backstretch Appreciation Day Picnic at Monmouth Park will be held on Monday, July 14, rain or shine, starting at noon.

The picnic, which is open to all backstretch employees and their families was started by Dan Perlsweig in 1991 as a way of thanking all the people who work with the horses and keep racing going smoothly.

Last year, the picnic drew more than 2,000 people, and this year's event is expected to lure the same.

The theme of the picnic is food and fun. The menu offers chicken, hot dogs, corn on the cob, potato salad, baked beans, watermelon and more. Beverages include soda and beer.

There will be games and raffles all afternoon, with more than 500 prizes given away. In addition, more than 800 t-shirts will be handed out to backstretch employees.

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July 5, 2008
PRESIOUS PASSION, NOTIONAL HEADING FOR CALIFORNIA AFTER UPSET VICTORIES IN BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - The band played "California Here I Come" at Monmouth Park on Saturday as Patricia Generazio's Presious Passion scored a front-running upset victory in the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (G1) and J. Paul Reddam's Notional captured the $300,000 Salvator Mile Stakes (G3).

Both the United Nations and the Salvator Mile are Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" events, and the winners of both races earned automatic starting berths at the Breeders' Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park on Oct. 24-25.  The U.N. winner, Presious Passion, is guaranteed a spot in the $3 million Breeders' Cup Turf, and the Salvator winner, Notional, has a starting date in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

Monmouth's on-track handle of over $1 million and total handle of $6.7 million were the best of the season thus far.

"It's the largest total handle outside of a Haskell Day in recent memory," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. "It was a terrific card and the wagering reflected just that."

Presious Passion, who never gets any respect in the mutuels despite his record at his home track here and his victories in graded events, went off at 13-1. He took command from the start and Eddie Castro nursed him along all the way to reach the wire a neck in front of Strike a Deal, the 2-1 second choice, with Equitable a length and a quarter farther back. Champs Elysees, the 11-10 favorite, finished sixth.

The winner raced the mile and three-eighths over a turf course termed yielding in 2:13 4/5, just one second off the course record.

Presious Passion gave his trainer, Monmouth-based Mary Hartmann, her first-ever victory in a Grade 1 event with her first starter in a major event.

The winner paid $29.60, $8.80 and $5.40 across the board and topped a $109.20 exacta. Strike a Deal returned $4 to place and $3 to show, and Equitable paid $4.20 to show.

"I'm shaking," Hartmann said. "This is the best feeling in the world. I'm just enjoying the win today. I'll talk with the owners, Pat and Frank Generazio, to see what path we'll take to get to the Breeders' Cup, but that's the plan for sure.

"It didn't bother me at all when I saw the early fractions of :24 and then :49. I thought he might sprint away a little bit from there and make them come and catch him, but it all worked out perfectly. I don't think the mile and three-eighths is his best distance. I think a mile and a half is.

"He's a very easy horse to train," Hartmann said. "I think he'll just get better from here. This is just amazing."

The race was really devoid of drama, as is reflected in jockey Castro's comments.

"I got the early lead pretty easily," Castro said, "I didn't have to use too much horse. I was able to relax on the front end and get soft fractions. At the three-eighths pole, I just let him go and he kept on going."

The winner's prize of $450,000 nearly doubled Presious Passion's lifetime earnings, which now total $908,028 on a record of 8-4-2 in 29 starts. He won the Grade 2 McKnight last year and the Grade 3 Pan American this year.

In the Salvator Mile, Notional sat behind Gottcha Gold's steady early pace until the quarter-pole, when Joe Bravo sent him to challenge for the lead. The winner, trained by Mark Hennig, battled with Gottcha Gold through the stretch and was finally able to draw clear in the final yards, scoring by two and a quarter lengths.

Notional, sent off at 7-1 in the field of six, raced the one mile over a fast track in 1:35 4/5 and paid $17.80, $5.40 and $2.80 across the board. Gottcha Gold, the 4-5 favorite, completed the $48.40 exacta and paid $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show. Honest Man was two and a quarter lengths farther back and returned $2.60 to show. Indy Wind, the second choice, finished fourth.

Gottcha Gold, who used his front-running style to win last year's Salvator Mile, went right to the front from the gate, running a quarter in :23 and a half-mile in :46.  After six furlongs in 1:10, Notional pounced on Gottcha Gold and engaged in a head-and-head duel entering the stretch. Bravo kept busy on the winner, who tried to lug in a bit at the eighth pole, and Notional straightened out the last sixteenth and increased his margin to the wire.

"I was sitting way off the pace early," Bravo said, "and when I asked him, he went from about six or seven lengths back to right up with the leader. I thought I might have moved too soon, but luckily not. Gottcha Gold was battling back, but my horse put him away inside the sixteenth pole and ran on from there."

This was the first win this year for Notional, a 4-year-old son of In Excess who was a stakes winner last year as a 3-year-old for trainer Doug O'Neill and finished second in the 2007 Florida Derby. He suffered a fractured cannon bone and did not return to the races until this February. The Salvator was Notional's fourth lifetime win, and the winner's prize of $180,000 raised his bankroll to $695,790.

Hennig, who watched the race on television, said, "Mr. Reddam thought the artificial surface in California wasn't suiting him well. He sent him to me in New York at the beginning of June. Doug (former trainer O'Neill) and I talked about him. He was frustrated out there. He didn't know if he could attribute it to the surface or his injury after the Florida Derby. Doug and I worked together well - it was an East-West attack."

In the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, Silly Goose Racing Stable's Maddy's Lion made a big run through the stretch to nail the front-running Joey P. on the wire.

Maddy's Lion, trained by Gregg Sacco and ridden by Carlos Marquez Jr., was up to score by a neck, completing the six furlongs over a fast main track in 1:09 1/5. Sent off third choice in the field of seven older sprinters, Maddy's Lion paid $10.80, $3.60 and $2.60 across the board.

Joey P., the even-money favorite, completed the $30.40 exacta and paid $2.40 to place and $2.20 to show. Mr. Umphrey, who was nearly four lengths farther back, paid $2.60 to show.

It was the first win in three Monmouth starts this year for Maddy's Lion, a 6-year-old son of Lion Hearted who finished second to Mr. Umphrey in the Longfellow Stakes here last month.

Joey P., who was coming off a victory in a four and a half-furlong stakes race at Charles Town, set all the pace, clipping off fractions of :21 4/5 for the quarter and :44 2/5 for the half. He held a clear lead at the eighth pole, but Maddy's Lion made a determined run in the middle of the track to get up in time.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, July 6 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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July 4, 2008
J BE K, 2-5 CHOICE, EASILY CAPTURES JERSEY SHORE STAKES AT MONMOUTH; SILVER EDITION 2ND, INDY JOE 3RD IN GRADE 3 SPRINT
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Zayat Stable's J Be K left no doubt about who was best in the $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3) at Monmouth Park on Friday as he assumed command at the quarter pole and rolled to a handy four-length victory.

Sent off the 2-5 favorite in the field of six 3-year-olds, J Be K stopped the timer in 1:09 flat over the fast main track and paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 across the board. It was the fifth victory in seven lifetime starts for the son of Silver Deputy, who is trained by Steve Asmussen. Garrett Gomez came in from New York for the ride and registered his fourth victory on J Be K.

Silver Edition, second choice at 5-1, finished second to complete the $8.40 exacta. He paid $3.40 to place and $2.20 to show. Indy Joe was six lengths farther back in third and returned $2.60 to show.

The Jersey Shore was the third graded stakes victory for J Be K, who was coming off a victory in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens at Belmont and in April won the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct.

Any drama was short-lived in the running of the Jersey Shore. Gomez was content to sit behind the speed for the first quarter, completed in a quick :21 2/5, but sent J Be K into command approaching the quarter-pole. The winner skipped the half-mile in :44 1/5, and was just cruising through the stretch as Gomez throttled him down late.

"Going into the race, I knew I was on the best horse," Gomez said. "I really wanted to keep him in the clear and out of trouble. He's a great horse with a great mind, and is maturing at a good rate. He's like a teenager just getting out of high school and adjusting to everything the right way."

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Saturday with a 12-race program, highlighted by the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes and the Grade 3 Salvator Mile.

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July 1, 2008
SEVEN STAKES HIGHLIGHT 4TH OF JULY FESTIVITIES AT MONMOUTH
Monmouth Park.com

Monmouth will celebrate the Fourth of July weekend with seven stakes races over three days, topped by the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day events; a $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool; a fundraiser for the Don MacBeth Memorial Jockey Fund; a backpack giveaway, and Family Fun Day activities all three days.

The stakes action gets underway on Friday, July 4, with the 17th running of the $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes (G3), which features top 3-year-old sprinters, and the $65,000 Choice Stakes for 3-year-olds on the turf.

Saturday is Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day when Monmouth offers two “win and you’re in” stakes events. The winner of the $750,000 United Nations Stakes (G1) is guaranteed a berth in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 25, and the winner of the $300,000 Salvator Mile Stakes (G3) earns a starting spot in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile the same day.  A $100,000 guaranteed Pick 4 pool, which includes the U.N. and Salvator Mile, will be up for grabs on the days final four races.

Also on tap that day is the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes for older sprinters.

The holiday weekend stakes action concludes on Sunday, July 6, with the $70,000 Miss Liberty Stakes for fillies and mares on turf and the $60,000 Colts Neck Handicap for New Jersey-bred sprinters.

The Don MacBeth fundraiser on Friday features autographed racing memorabilia, artwork, lucky horseshoes and raffles. Live music will be provided by Cats on a Smooth Surface.

On Saturday, July 5, there will be a backpack giveaway, with all paid admissions receiving a Monmouth logo backpack while supplies last.

The Mike Dalton Band will provide live entertainment “On the Green.”

On Sunday, the Family Fun Day activities (free pony rides, face painters, clowns and more) continue, and music will be provided by the Rory Daniels Band.

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July 1, 2008
DAWN PATROL TOURS BACK AT MONMOUTH PARK
Monmouth Park.com

Monmouth Park’s popular Dawn Patrol tours of the stable area are back, and will be held every Friday and Saturday through August 30. The tours are free of charge, and guests are treated to complimentary juice, coffee and pastries.

Dawn Patrol takes guests on a tram tour through the Monmouth Park stable area for a glimpse into the everyday life of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. The tour also includes a visit to the jockeys’ room on the frontside.

The Friday Dawn Patrol starts at 7 a.m., and the Saturday tours begin at 8 a.m.

Reservations are required for the Dawn Patrol tours, and can be made by calling 732-571-5542, or by stopping in the Media Relations office in the Administration Building at the track.

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June 29, 2008
DEVIL HOUSE GOES WIRE-TO-WIRE IN WINNING LIGHTHOUSE STAKES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Glencrest Farm's Devil House showed the most speed from her inside post and took her five foes wire-to-wire in winning the $70,000 Lighthouse Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Trained by the meet's top conditioner, Bruce Levine, Devil House covered the mile and 70 yards in 1:42 flat and returned $30.80, $14.40 and $6.60 after coming home a 10 1/4 length winner.  For Kisses rallied from last to complete a $137.40 exacta and paid $5 and $4.  It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Prop Me Up, who returned $3.40 to show.  Debbie Got Even, the 9-5 favorite, finished fifth.

"The original plan was to sit off the early pacesetters," said winning rider Daniel Centeno, "but she broke so sharply and I saw nobody leave.  After that, I just let her go and got her to relax down the backside.  I looked back at the 1/4 pole to see if anyone was behind me and there was nobody coming."

The Lighthouse Stakes score marked the seventh in 17 starts for Devil House, a 4-year-old filly by Chester House from the Diablo mare Diablo's Bobett.  She has now earned $264,660 for her connections.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, July 2 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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June 28, 2008
JOEY P. ON TRACK FOR THREE MORE MONMOUTH STARTS THIS SUMMER
Monmouth Park.com

John Petrini's Joey P., who has become one of the all-time favorite sprinters at Monmouth, is expected to be back in action at Monmouth Park next weekend after a successful road trip last Saturday.

The 6-year-old son of Close Up, who has won 12 of 20 Monmouth starts - all sprints - took down top money in the Charles Town Dash Handicap on June 21. In that four and a half-furlong event on the small (six furlongs) Charles Town oval, Joey P. was hustled out of the gate by jockey Travis Dunkelberger, gained a clear advantage after a furlong, and then opened up in the stretch to win by three lengths in :50.75, just a few ticks off the track record.

"He's something else," trainer Ben Perkins Jr. said of Joey P. "He's ready to run again. It's like he just had a fast four and a half-furlong workout.

"He'll start in the stakes next weekend," the trainer said, "which will set him up to run again on Haskell Day (Aug. 3), and then again on the New Jersey-bred day (Sept. 20)."

The weekend event is the $75,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes, an open six-furlong event to be decided on Saturday, July 5.

On Haskell Day, the sprint feature is the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes, and on the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival card, the top sprint test is the $60,000 Lincroft Handicap.

Joey P., who won the John J. Reilly Handicap here on May 24, has now earned a career total of $871,918, with $596,991 of that gleaned at Monmouth.

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June 28, 2008
MY PRINCESS JESS SETS RECORD IN BOILING SPRINGS STAKES AS BRAVO WINS BOTH STAKES; SPRUCE FIR 'CAP TO OPEN SKIES
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Lael Stable's My Princess Jess set a turf course record in the $150,000 Boiling Springs Stakes, and ELR Corp.'s Open Skies took the $60,000 Spruce Fir Handicap as jockey Joe Bravo swept the main events at Monmouth Saturday.

In the Grade 3 Boiling Springs, My Princess Jess gained command on the turn and had enough left late to hold off the closing charge of Much Obliged for a neck victory. The 3-year-old filly by Stormy Atlantic, trained by Barclay Tagg, stepped the mile and a sixteenth over a firm turf course in 1:39.81, breaking the record of 1:40.41 set by Giant Wrecker in 2006.

Sent off the 9-5 favorite in the field of nine 3-year-old fillies, My Princess Jess paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.60 across the board and topped a $29.20 exacta with Much Obliged, who was a 3-1 chance in the wagering and returned $4 to place and $3.40 to show. Forest Trail was third, three and a half lengths behind the top pair, returning $3.40 to show.

This was the second straight stakes score, and first graded victory, for My Princess Jess, who took the Gaviola Stakes at Belmont last month.

Bravo kept her off a fast early pace until approaching the turn, when he gunned his filly to the front. My Princess Jess opened a clear lead in midstretch, and then had to drive to the wire to outfinish Much Obliged, who lost ground circling the field on the turn.

"I was very impressed, we all were," said Tagg. "She broke the track record today. This filly has a very nice turn of foot. This was her first start for us. Mr. (Roy) Jackson purchased her after her last start."

"Barclay Tagg made me look good," Bravo said. "This filly was much the best today. I had ridden her down in Florida two starts ago when she ran a bang-up second."

Roy Jackson, owner of Lael Stable, said, "She looked like she would be a real nice turf filly, so we purchased her after her last race (May 8 at Belmont)."

In the Spruce Fir at one mile and 70 yards, Open Skies gained command after a half-mile and was uncatchable thereafter, cruising to the line three and a half lengths in front of Talkin About Love, the 125-pound highweight and even-money favorite in the field of five New Jersey-bred fillies and mares.

Open Skies, trained by Tim Hills, raced the distance in 1:43 flat over a fast track under the low weight of 111 pounds, and paid $5, $2.60 and $2.60 across the board as the second favorite. Talkin About Love, who stumbled coming out of the gate, returned $2.40 and $2.20 and completed the $10 exacta. Summer Sting, the longest shot on the board at 19-1, finished nearly two lengths behind her stablemate and paid $4 to show.

It was the first career stakes win for Open Skies, a 3-year-old filly by Defrere, who won an allowance race here last out. This was her third victory in five starts this season. She took her first-level allowance race at Gulfstream Park in April.

Open Skies broke a bit slowly, but Bravo let her settle off the early pace set by Solar Powered. He gunned the filly into the lead at the half-mile pole, and she flew around the turn and opened a big advantage in the stretch. Talkin About Love mounted a belated rally but never could pose a real threat.

"She's a very nice filly," said Hills. "She matured so much between her 2- and 3-year-old seasons. She's always been a little slow out of the gate, but once she gets going she's just awfully tough to catch. We'll see what opportunities come our way, but the Monmouth Oaks (G3 on Aug. 9) could be a possibility."

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June 26, 2008
$64K CARRYOVER INTO SATURDAY'S SIXTY 60-MINUTE 6
Monmouth Park.com

The 60-Minute Six, a new wager combining races from Monmouth, Belmont, Philadelphia Park and Delaware, debuted last Saturday and instantly produced added excitement for its second installment this Saturday, June 28.  No one correctly selected all six winners in the initial 60-Minute Six, thereby producing a carryover of $64,477.55 into this Saturday's wager.

Created by the joint effort of Monmouth, Philadelphia Park, Delaware and the New York Racing Association, the 60-Minute Six combines a pair of races from two of the tracks with one each from the other two.  The races are chosen so that all six run within a one-hour span.

The 60-Minute Six will be offered every Saturday, through Aug. 30.

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June 25, 2008
ARCH NEMESIS SETS COURSE RECORD IN MONMOUTH TURF WIN
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Brazil Stable's Arch Nemesis got up in the final stride to capture Wednesday's $45,000 allowance feature at Monmouth Park in record time.

The 4-year-old daughter of Arch, trained by Angel Penna Jr. and ridden by Eddie Castro, stopped the timer in 1:46.72 for the mile and an eighth over the firm turf course, beating the old mark by nearly three full seconds. The previous record for the distance, starting from the infield chute with the portable rail set out 36 feet, was 1:49.60, set by Greenery on June 14 last year.

Arch Nemesis defeated Jade Queen, the even-money favorite, by a nose and paid $10.80, $4.40 and $3 across the board. Jade Queen completed the $23.40 exacta and returned $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show. Winsome Ways was a distant third and paid $2.60 to show as second choice in the field of six fillies and mares.

Arch Nemesis tracked the pacesetters until midstretch when she launched her rally on the inside. Jade Queen was the clear leader with just 100 yards to go, but the winner put on a burst of speed that carried her to victory.

This was the first win of the year for Arch Nemesis, who was making her Monmouth debut.

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June 22, 2008
JOSE LEZCANO WINS SIX ON SUNDAY'S CARD, TIES MONMOUTH RECORD
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jockey Jose Lezcano rode six winners on Monmouth Park's Sunday card, equaling a Monmouth Park record.

Lezcano's "six-bagger" kicked off in Sunday's 2nd race with Shore ($4.20) and continued in the 3rd atop Sweet Sugardaddy ($3), the 6th aboard Adjust ($7.80), the 7th with Way With Words ($9.20), the 9th atop Coli Bear ($11) and the last with Brush the Rail ($15).

Walter Blum, in 1961, was the first rider to set the mark.  It was equaled in 1984 by Chris Antley, in 1987 by Julie Krone and by Joe Bravo in 1994, 2002, 2005 and 2006.

A 23-year-old native of Panama, Lezcano returned to win his six on Sunday after being unseated from his mount, Brainy Baxter, in Saturday's finale.

Following Sunday's card, Lezcano leads the Monmouth rider standings with 42 victories, two more than Eddie Castro and 13-time leading jockey Joe Bravo.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, June 25 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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June 21, 2008
J Z WARRIOR CAPTURES DEARLY PRECIOUS STAKES BY FOUR
Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Zayat Stables's J Z Warrior took command at the start and was never threatened as she sped to a four-length victory in the $70,000 Dearly Precious Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Also on Saturday, a new wager, the Sixty Minute Pick 6, made its debut and immediately guaranteed excitement for next Saturday when it produced a carryover result. The new wager, which started with a guaranteed pool of $100,000, attracted total betting of $114,627. Five of six winners returned $3,907.60, and a total of $64,477.55 will be carried over to next Saturday's Sixty Minute Pick 6.

J Z Warrior, sent off the 13-10 favorite in the field of six fillies and mares, raced the six furlongs in 1:09 4/5 over the fast main track and returned $4.60, $2.80 and $2.20 across the board.

Irish Smoke, the second choice at 4-1, finished second to complete the $20.40 exacta, paying $4.80 and $3.20. D'Wild Ride, the longest shot on the board at 10-1 was third, returning $3.20 to show.

The winner, trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joe Bravo, scored her first win this year in five starts. This was the first stakes victory for the 3-year-old daughter of Harlan's Holiday.

Bravo put J Z Warrior on the lead soon after the start, and the filly clipped off fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 2/5 to discourage all her rivals and was being geared down at the wire.

"I'm just very happy to get to ride when Bill Mott sends a horse here," Bravo said. "It makes my job very, very easy. All I had to do with this one was hold on. Anytime you have a sprint race you have to worry about the break, and she broke beautifully."

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June 20, 2008
SEATS AVAILABLE FOR AUG. 3 HASKELL FEATURING BIG BROWN
Monmouth Park.com

Reserved seats are on sale for the 41st running of the $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, Aug. 3, and are expected to go quickly now that the Grade 1 race will showcase the return of Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown.

The owners of Big Brown have announced that the colt will run in the Haskell as his first race back after the Belmont Stakes. The mile and an eighth Haskell begins his drive toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Oct. 26.

“We’re ecstatic to see that Big Brown plans on running in the Haskell,” said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. “He’s a tremendous horse with a ton of talent. I know racing fans at the Jersey Shore welcome the news as much as we do and look forward to another great renewal of the Haskell on August 3.

“Last year we got to see Curlin in the Haskell,” Dowd said, “and he went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Horse of the Year honors. The Haskell has stamped itself as the next logical step for horses after the Triple Crown and for those looking at year-end honors. This year’s race should continue that tradition.”

The owners and trainer of Big Brown will receive a bonus of $50,000 each for running in the Haskell because the colt won two legs of the Triple Crown. The owner and trainer of Da’ Tara, the Belmont winner, would each receive a $25,000 bonus for competing in the Haskell.

Grandstand and clubhouse reserved seats are available for $10 to $17, while box seats can be purchased for $12 each for Haskell Day. Seats can be purchased Wednesday through Sunday by calling 732-571-5563. Visitors to the track can purchase seats any racing day at the reserved seat booth located on the second floor of the grandstand.

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June 19, 2008

WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR THE HASKELL?

By ORR.com

David Grening of the Daily Racing Form and The Asbury Park Press are reporting that Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner will be pointed to the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on Aug. 3 for his next start, per Michael Iavarone, head of the International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc. Stable that owns 75 percent of Big Brown.

"The Haskell's clearly a first target right now," Iavarone told the media.

The Haskell, run at 1 1/8 miles, would be Big Brown's first start since he finished last in the Belmont Stakes on June 7 after jockey Kent Desormeaux pulled him up with a quarter-mile left to run. Iavarone said there is still no plausible excuse for Big Brown's performance in the Belmont, but added that the horse is training forwardly at Aqueduct for trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. He could breeze next week.

By choosing the Haskell over the Jim Dandy and Travers - run July 27 and Aug. 23 at Saratoga, respectively - Iavarone said he is hoping to remove some of the variables that he assumes may have contributed to Big Brown's Belmont loss.

"We're trying to avoid certain things that happened in the Belmont," he said. "We're trying to avoid the heat. It's a lot more hot and humid [at Saratoga], it's a lot cooler down by the Jersey Shore. More importantly is the surface. It's a lot tighter racetrack, more conducive to his style."

Iavarone said that the timing of the Haskell is better for Big Brown should Iavarone and Dutrow decide to run him again before the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 25.

Iavarone said that if Big Brown runs in the Haskell, it "would be a longshot" that he runs back in the Travers 20 days later. "But I don't rule out anything."

By virtue of the conditions of a bonus announced last month, Monmouth Park officials will pay the owners, IEAH and Paul Pompa Jr., $50,000 and Dutrow $50,000 to run Big Brown in the Haskell since Big Brown won two Triple Crown races.

"That's clearly not even a consideration," Iavarone said.

"We're ecstatic to see that Big Brown plans on running in the Haskell,'' said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates Monmouth Park, to The Press. "He's a tremendous horse with a ton of talent.''

Dowd added, "I know racing fans at the Jersey Shore welcome the news as much as we do.''

 

The 2007 Haskell was won by Any Given Saturday in front of a crowd of 43,106. Wagering on the 14-race card by at-the-track patrons was $3.5 million, with the total swelling to $14.1 million with simulcast bets, a record for a race card in New Jersey.

 

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June 19, 2008

DAWN PATROL TOURS SET TO START ON FRIDAY, JUNE 27

Monmouth Park.com


Monmouth Park's popular Dawn Patrol tours of the stable area will begin on Friday, June 27, and will be held every Friday and Saturday thereafter through August 30. The tours are free of charge, and guests are treated to complimentary juice, coffee and pastries.

 

Dawn Patrol takes guests on a tram tour through the Monmouth Park stable area for a glimpse into the everyday life of Thoroughbreds and the people who care for them. The tour also includes a visit to the jockeys' room on the frontside.

 

The Friday Dawn Patrol starts at 7 a.m., and the Saturday tours begin at 8 a.m.

 

Reservations are required fort he Dawn Patrol tours, and can be made by calling 732-571-5542, or by stopping in the Media Relations office in the Administration Building at the track.

 

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June 17, 2008

$100,000 GUARANTEED POOL SET FOR SIXTY MINUTE 6 DEBUT SATURDAY

Monmouth Park.com

 

The Sixty Minute 6, a new pick six wager that combines races from Monmouth Park, Belmont Park, Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park will debut with a $100,000 guaranteed pool this Saturday, June 21.

“It’s a new, fast-paced version of the traditional pick six that many racetracks offer,” said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.  “This action-packed wager will provide fans with an attractive wagering option and something new and different to look forward to each and every Saturday.

Created by the joint effort of Monmouth, Philly, Delaware and the New York Racing Association, the Sixty Minute 6 combines a pair of races from two of the tracks with one each from the other two.  The races will be chosen so all six will run within a one-hour span.

 

The Sixty Minute 6 will be offered every Saturday through Aug. 30, and has a $2 base wager.  If no one successfully selects all six winners, 75% of the pool will carryover to the following Saturday’s Sixty Minute 6.  The takeout rate for this new wager is 25% with a guaranteed pool of $100,000 up for grabs for the inaugural Sixty Minute Six this Saturday. __________________________

June 15, 2005

23,058 ON-HAND FOR FATHER'S DAY AT MONMOUTH PARK AS CALL MY BLUFF AND LUNA PARK SCORE IN SUNDAY STAKES

Monmouth Park.com

 

OCEANPORT, N.J. - A season-high crowd of 23,058 were on track for Father's Day at Monmouth Park to see Call My Bluff upset the $70,000 Battlefield Stakes and Luna Park surprise his foes in the $60,00 Bernie Dowd Handicap.

"It was a great card and a great afternoon of racing," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority.  "Despite the rain we got late this morning and early this afternoon, an enthusiastic crowd showed up to watch 11 great races.  It was the most electric crowd thus far this year and hopefully a sign of things to come in the months ahead."

Call My Bluff, ridden by Pedro Cotto Jr., took command right from the start and never looked back, scoring by 8 1/4 lengths after covering the mile and an eighth over the sloppy main track in 1:50 4/5.  The winner returned $10 and $3.60 and topped a $40 exacta.  Presious Passion closed for second, paying $3.20.  It was another 5 3/4 lengths back to I'm Only Laughing with Ballonenostrikes rounding out the field that scratched down to four runners after being transferred from the turf.  There was no show wagering offered on the Battlefield.

"We were going to the lead today, that was the plan," said winning trainer Derek Ryan.  "This horse has a lot of back class and he's very versatile.  We'll keep our options open for now, but we'll bring him back here in something.  He really likes this track."

The Battlefield win was the sixth in 28 starts for Call My Bluff, a 6-year-old gelding by Pine Bluff from the Affirmed mare Kerplop.  He boosted his lifetime bankroll to $201,036.
In the $60,000 Bernie Dowd Handicap, Luna Park wore down a game Meadow Blue to post a nose victory after stepping the mile and 70 yards in 1:42 flat.

Trained by John Tammaro III, Luna Park returned $29, $11.20 and $5.60 and topped a $180.20 exacta.  Meadow Blue paid $7.20 and $3.20.  Cuba, who finished another 6 3/4 lengths back in third, paid $2.40 to show.

"I know Tammaro's horses always have horse until the end," said winning rider C.H. Marquez Jr., "and when I asked the horse, he just kicked in for me and got game until the wire."

Sunday's win marked the fifth in 19 starts for Luna Park, a 5-year-old gelding by Dance Brightly from the Affirmed mare Secret Surprise.  He has now won $169,344 for owner Chad S. Anshelewitz.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, June 18 - first post 12:50 p.m.  With no one selecting all five winners in Sunday's Pick 5, Wednesday's card will have a carryover of $9,848 in the Pick 5, which gets underway with race five.

 

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June 14, 2008

SOCIAL QUEEN BEATS CHESTORIA BY NECK IN EATONTOWN STAKES ON MONMOUTH TURF; COOL COAL MAN CAPTURES SPEND A BUCK

Monmouth Park.com

 

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jayeff B Stables' Social Queen showed her love of Monmouth's turf course Saturday as she closed with a rush in the stretch to capture the $150,000 Eatontown Stakes (G3), first graded event of the season.

In the day's co-feature, the $70,000 Spend a Buck Stakes for 3-year-olds, Cool Coal Man proved best by a neck after a spirited stretch duel with Atoned.

Social Queen, who improved her record here to four wins in five starts, outgamed Chestoria through the stretch to score by a neck. The 4-year-old Dynaformer filly, trained by Alan Goldberg and ridden by Jose Lezcano, raced the mile and a sixteenth over a firm grass course in 1:40 2/5.

The winner returned $8, $4.20 and $3 across the board as second choice in the field of eight fillies and mares. Chestoria, third choice at 9-2 who briefly held the lead, returned $5.60 and $3.40 and completed the $43 exacta. Miracle Moment, who set all the early fractions, held on for third, two and a quarter lengths farther back, paying $5.40 to show.

Social Queen won the Politely Stakes here on May 26 in her first start of the season. Last year she won an overnight stakes and an allowance race on the grass here.

The winner was content to stay far back early as Miracle Moment set solid fractions. Coming to the quarter-pole, both Social Queen and Chestoria launched their rallies. Chestoria briefly moved into the lead, but Social Queen would not be denied and resolutely ran her down.

"She's gotten bigger and stronger from her 3-year-old season," Goldberg said. "She's always been a nice horse for us and we always expected her to do good things. That was her second start in three weeks, so we'll give her a little break and try her in the Matchmaker (G3 on Aug. 3)."

"She's a really nice filly, a push-button horse," said Lezcano. I started to ask her going into the far turn, and when I called on her, she really kicked in."

In the Spend a Buck Stakes, one of Monmouth's prep races for the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) on Aug. 3, Robert LaPenta's Cool Coal Man regained his winning ways, outdueling Atoned through the stretch for a hard-fought neck victory.

The winner, trained by Nick Zito and ridden by Eddie Castro, raced the mile and 70 yards over a fast track in 1:41 4/5 and returned $3.60, $2.20 and $2.10 across the board as the 4-5 favorite in the field of five 3-year-olds.

Atoned, second choice at 6-5, paid $2.40 and $2.20 and completed the $5.40 exacta. Chirac held third, nearly six lengths behind the top pair, and paid $2.80 to show.

This was the first win for Cool Coal Man since he took the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park in February. After that, he was a well-beaten ninth in the Blue Grass Stakes and then ran a dismal 15th in the Kentucky Derby.

This was the fifth lifetime win in 10 starts for Cool Coal Man, a bay son of Mineshaft. Even though it was a dry racetrack, the colt wore front mud caulks.

Cobra Strike set all the early pace, with Cool Coal Man sitting to his outside and Atoned content to follow along the rail. At the quarter pole, the winner made his move to the lead. At the same time, Atoned gunned up along the inside. The two hooked up in early stretch and dueled to the wire, with Cool Coal Man proving best.

"He broke sharply out of the gate and got good early position," said Castro, who was aboard for the first time. "I just kept him on the outside in the clear because I didn't want to get in any trouble. I sat with him down the backside and waited. When I asked him, he just exploded, and then stayed tough through the lane."

 

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June 12, 2008

SPEND A BUCK STAKES A TESTING GROUND FOR 3-YEAR-OLDS

Monmouth Park.com

 

Saturday's $70,000 Spend a Buck Stakes is a testing ground for 3-year-olds. Because it's restricted to sophomore runners, trainers can get a line on their horse's development relative to the age group. Allowance races against older horses tend to confuse the issue.

And sometimes, it's just a good spot to experiment, to see if a horse can move forward. That's what trainer Alan Seewald will be doing when he saddles Fantasy Lane Stable's Cobra Strike in the one mile and 70-yard Spend a Buck.

The gray son of Ecton Park - Queen Cobra, by Cobra King, will be making his first start around two turns Saturday. He's won half of his six lifetime starts, all sprints.

"This will be a good test for him," Seewald said. "If he does well, we can start thinking about the Long Branch (July 12 prep for the Haskell Invitational). If not, it's back to sprinting."

Cobra Strike debuted to great excitement here last Aug. 25. After a lot of pre-race buzz about the way he was working, the colt opened a short price, and then drifted up to $2.40-1. He gained command midway through the stretch and won like a good horse, opening up by nearly four lengths at the wire.

"There's always a buzz around the Fantasy Lane horses," Seewald said with a smile. "There are over 200 partners in the syndicate, so there's always a crowd when one of their horses runs. It's a lot of fun, and I think it's great for racing."

Cobra Strike followed his debut with a gritty performance in the NATC Futurity, where he was second, beaten just a length for all the money in a race his trainer thought he should have won. But the colt started from the rail and fought traffic trouble the whole trip.

He drew the rail again for his final Monmouth start of 2007, the Favorite Trick Breeders' Cup Stakes on Oct. 26, and it was difficult to tell what he disliked the most - the inside post or the extremely sloppy track. In any event, he finished sixth, but was beaten only five lengths.

Cobra Strike started twice more as a juvenile, winning an allowance race at Philly Park, and then running sixth in the Capote Stakes at Aqueduct.

"He really hated the inner track at Aqueduct," Seewald said. "Wouldn't run at all."

The Kentucky-bred made his 3-year-old debut at Philly Park on May 20, taking his non-winners of two condition rather handily over a sloppy track.

"He doesn't really like the slop," Seewald said, "but he handled it well that day."

That brings the colt to right now, where he's been preparing for his two-turn debut. Seewald breezed him six furlongs in 1:15 last Saturday, but has never drilled him around two turns.

"I had him scheduled to breeze a mile last week," Seewald said, "but the weather didn't cooperate.

"He's got a good foundation, he's fit enough, and he's bred to go long," the trainer said. "This is the time to find out for sure if he can do it."

Victor Molina, who has been aboard the last three starts, will be in from Philly to take the mount.

A couple of barns away, trainer Jane Cibelli was getting Pia M. Kirkham's Chirac ready for his stakes debut. The son of Sligo Bay, named for former French president Jacques Chirac, created his own excitement here on May 10, when he drew clear late to win a one-mile allowance race against older horses by more than three lengths at odds of 37-1.

"He won that pretty easily," Cibelli said. "That's why he's in this stakes race. If I ran him in an allowance race, it would have to be against older horses again. This way, he stays with 3-year-olds.

"He's been working very well," the trainer said, "and the timing is right for this, a month after his last start."

Chirac has had just four lifetime starts. He broke his maiden at second asking at Tampa Bay on March 8, and tired to be sixth on the turf in his start just before shipping to Monmouth.

Carlos H. Marquez Jr., who was aboard in the surprise score last out, gets the mount again.

 

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June 11, 2008

MADDY'S HEART, MARQUEZ, WELL-PREPPED FOR EATONTOWN

Monmouth Park.com

 

With a race behind them now, trainer Tim Hills is expecting big things from the partnership of Maddy's Heart and Carlos H. Marquez Jr. in Saturday's $150,000 Eatontown Stakes (G3), first graded event of the season at Monmouth.

The two got together for the first time in the Politely here on May 26, and the result was an unfortunate fourth, beaten two lengths for all the money.

"As it turned out," Hills said, "my instructions to the rider turned out to be wrong for the way the race developed.

"It was the first time Marquez rode her, and I told him to take her back and save ground. But when she tried to move inside, she got bounced around going into the first turn. That made her mad, and she just took off.

"She went to the lead way too early," Hills said, "and then she had nothing left in the stretch."

Maddy's Heart, a 4-year-old daughter of Lion Hearted - Maddy's Terms, by Private Terms, will be going for her first graded stakes victory in the Eatontown, a mile and a sixteenth test on the grass for fillies and mares.

She won the Maryland Million Ladies Stakes last October at Laurel, when she stalked the pace in the mile and an eighth event, and closed with a rush to be up by a neck. She also has an allowance victory on Monmouth's turf course, scoring at the Eatontown distance last August.

Maddy's Heart is a full brother to Maddy's Lion, a stakes winner who has also won at Monmouth. They were bred by owner Dennis Federico, and the horses are all named for Federico's wife, Maddy.

"Now that Marquez has ridden her," Hills said, "I'm expecting them to get along a lot better this time."

 

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June 11, 2008

INDY WIND GETS READY FOR NEXT TEST IN SALVATOR MILE

Monmouth Park.com

 

It's déjà vu all over again for Hardacre Farm's Indy Wind, who this season will again go after graded stakes glory after winning the Frisk Me Now Stakes here.

The 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy put on a show here Saturday afternoon as he gained the lead in the stretch, and then just kicked away from his field to win by seven and a half widening lengths.

The victory was reminiscent of his score here on July 2, 2005 - his second career start - when he left his field more than 10 lengths behind. Stewart Elliott rode him for the first time Saturday, and will retain the mount.

"He came out of the race great," said owner-trainer Amy Tarrant, "and the plan is still to go to the Salvator Mile. I thought Stewie rode him perfectly, and they seem to get along well together."

The $300,000 Salvator, a Grade 3 event at one mile, will be renewed this season on Saturday, July 5, and kicks off the "Breeders' Cup Win and You're In" series.  Last year, Indy Wind came off a nearly two-length win over Gottcha Gold in the Frisk Me Now to run in the Salvator. He mounted only a modest rally, and had to settle for third behind Gottcha Gold and the heavily favored Lawyer Ron.

Tarrant actually has two older horses she feels deserve a chance to get a graded stakes win. Besides Indy Wind, who has two thirds in graded company, she also trains Kiss the Kid, a 5-year-old son of Lemon Drop Kid who was third in both the Grade 1 Donn Handicap and Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Handicap this year.

"I'll keep them apart," Tarrant said, "but I'd like them both to win a graded stakes. Indy goes in the Salvator, and then there's the Oceanport (Grade 3 on August 3) a month later that would be good timing. I might try Indy on the grass there, and put Kiss the Kid in the Iselin (Grade 3 on August 16) because he did so well on the main track in Florida."

Kiss the Kid, who has won on both dirt and turf at Monmouth, was second to Silent Roar in last year's running of the Oceanport on the grass.

 

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June 10, 2008

SEATS FOR THE AUGUST 3 HASKELL ON SALE NOW

Monmouth Park.com

 

The 41st renewal of the Haskell Invitational is set for Sunday, Aug. 3, but fans looking to get the best seats for New Jersey’s richest Thoroughbred race can act now as reserved seats for the Grade 1 race are on sale.

Grandstand and Clubhouse reserved seats are available for $10-$17, while Box Seats can purchased for $12 each.

The field for the race won’t begin to take shape for weeks, but a bonus looms for Big Brown and Da’ Tara should they put the Haskell on their racing calendars.  As the winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Big Brown’s owner and trainer will each receive $50,000, should they start in the Haskell.  With his upset score in the Belmont Stakes, the owner and trainer of Da’ Tara will each get $25,000 if they start their Classic winner in the mile and an eighth Haskell.  As part of the condition of the race, “a bonus of $25,000 per race will be given to both the owner and trainer of any horse that has won a leg of the Triple Crown and starts in the Haskell.”

Seats for the $1 million Haskell can be purchased Wednesday through Sunday by calling, 732-571-5563.

 

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June 8, 2008

MR. UMPHREY TAKES LONGFELLOW STAKES; ZULMIN MAKES IT A FAMILY AFFAIR

Monmouth Park.com

 

OCEANPORT, N.J. - New York invader Mr. Umphrey, a veteran 6-year-old gelding owned by Four Roses Thoroughbreds, captured Sunday's $70,000 Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth Park.  And in a racing oddity, the broodmare Zul produced three winners on three consecutive days.

Mr. Umphrey was sent off the 8-5 favorite in the six-furlong feature.  With Eddie Castro in the saddle, he broke sharply and tracked the pace set by Praying for Cash. They began to inch closer to Praying for Cash halfway down the backstretch, who was under a hard drive at the top of the stretch, and seized the lead at the eighth pole.

Mr. Umphrey cruised home from there, and finished a safe one-half length ahead of Maddy's Lion, who closed strongly from the back of the pack. The final time was 1:09 2/5 over a fast track.  Callmetony, the 6-5 favorite, took third in the field of five.

"We got a good trip today sitting just off the leader," Castro said. "He broke well and was able to relax. He really turned it on for me when I asked him heading for home."

Mr. Umphrey paid $5.40, $2.80 and $2.10 across the board. Maddy's Lion completed a $35 exacta and paid $5.40 and $2.40 to place. Callmetony paid $2.10 to show.

Mr. Umphrey, trained by Richard Dutrow, entered the Longfellow Stakes following two solid outings in graded stakes at Gulfstream and Belmont Park. A son of Jules, he is now undefeated in two local starts. This was his fifth win in 23 starts and bumped his career earnings over $300,000.

In a unique feat, three siblings, out of the broodmare Zul, each won in three consecutive days at Monmouth.  Eddie Broome bred them, and he is also the trainer and owner.  On Friday, 4-year-old Sonzul ($20.40) started the streak when she captured the opener.  One day later, her 3-year-old full brother Lucky James ($8.80) also won the opener.  Both are by Sultry Song.  And Sunday, 5-year-old Zulmin ($4.80) did her part, taking the finale.  Zulmin is a half-sister, by Stormin Fever.

Zul's family line continues with the 2-year-old colt Zuloushe, by Black Minnaloushe, who has yet to race.  As it turns out, he breezed three furlongs in 36.60 at Monmouth on Sunday morning.  Broome said the young horse would make his debut soon.

 

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June 7, 2008

ELLIOTT CAPTURES FRISK ME NOW STAKES ON INDY WIND, TAKES CANDY ÉCLAIR ON MONMOUTH TURF WITH BEAU DARE

Monmouth Park.com

 

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jockey Stewart Elliott swept the stakes races at Monmouth Park on Saturday, taking the $70,000 Frisk Me Now Stakes aboard Hardacre Farm's Indy Wind and the $60,000 Candy Éclair Stakes on Walts David Stable's Beau Dare.

Indy Wind, who hadn't won since he raced here last July 28, welcomed his return to Monmouth with a blowout, seven and a half-length score, his second straight victory in the Frisk Me Now Stakes.

Amy Tarrant trains the 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy who stopped the timer in 1:39 2/5 for the one mile and 70 yards over a fast track. In winning for the sixth time in 11 starts at Monmouth, Indy Wind paid $9, $4.60 and $3.40 across the board. Buffalo Man, second choice in the field of seven, finished second, paying $4.40 and $3.60, and completing the $40.80 exacta. Judiths Wild Rush was two lengths farther back and paid $5 to show. Coyoteshighestcall, the $2.10-1 favorite, never factored and finished fifth.

"He really likes this track," Tarrant said. "We couldn't decide whether or not to go to the front, so I told Stewie (Elliott) that if he breaks well to go to the lead, and if he didn't to just let the horse relax and then ask him at the quarter-pole. That's what he did, and it worked well. This horse showed his old self today. We'll try the Salvator Mile (Grade 3 on July 5) next."

"He's a pretty nice horse," Elliott said. When I asked him to run, he just took off. I knew all along I had a lot of horse underneath me. I wasn't too worried about anyone else."
Elliott kept Indy Wind near the pace most of the way and asked the horse for his best effort entering the stretch. Indy Wind responded with a burst of speed that carried him far in front of his rivals through the stretch, and he was never threatened at any point.

This was the first Monmouth start of the year for Indy Wind, who had fared poorly in two Florida races over the winter. The return to his favorite track was a replay of last year's Frisk Me Now, when he came off a long layoff to win going away over Gottcha Gold.

His most recent score before today came in the Skip Away Stakes last July.

Tarrant, who started the day without a winner at the meet, scored two on the day, taking the sixth with Harbor Ridge ($41.80).

In the Candy Éclair Stakes, Beau Dare, the 6-5 favorite, stalked the early speed to midstretch, and then uncorked her winning run. She was under only light pressure to the wire, holding off Anofficerandalady by a neck. Lizzierna, the second choice, finished third, a length and a quarter farther behind.

The winner is trained by Bruce Levine, leading conditioner at the meet. Beau Dare stopped the timer in 1:03 flat for five and a half furlongs over a turf course rated "good" and paid $4.40, $2.80 and $2.40 across the board as the choice.

Anofficerandalady, a 6-1 chance, paid $5.60 and $3.80 and completed the $28.60 exacta. Lizzierna returned $3.20 to show.

This was the first win at Monmouth for Beau Dare, a 5-year-old daughter of Military who won the Correction Handicap on the main track at Aqueduct in February.

"I thought I might go to the lead," Elliott said. "But that other horse (Bikini Atoll) wanted to go on with it, so I just let her go and sat off the speed. When I called on this filly, she really responded. I felt that other horse (Anofficerandalady) coming at me, but I didn't even look back. I just kept riding to the wire."

Elliott enjoyed a three-winner day, taking the second race aboard E. Judith ($17.20) before scoring his stakes double.

 

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June 7, 2008

HALL OF FAMER WARREN A. "JIMMY" CROLL PASSES AWAY AT 88

Monmouth Park.com

 

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Hall of Fame Trainer Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll passed away on Friday night at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch at the age of 88.

During his long career, Croll trained champions Parka, Forward Gal, Housebuster and Holy Bull, as well as influential sire Mr. Prospector.

Born March 9, 1920 in Bryn Mawr, Penn., Croll attended the University of Pennsylvania for two years before leaving school to work at the racetrack, first for Charlie Mills.  He moved to New Jersey in 1946 for the opening of Monmouth Park and had returned every summer since.

Croll got his first "big horse" when he claimed Parka for $10,000.  That charge was named top Grass Horse of 1965.  Following Parka, Croll trained three other champions:  Forward Gal (champion 2-year-old filly of 1970), Housebuster (champion sprinter of 1990 and 1991), and Holy Bull (champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year of 1994).

In addition to his quartet of champions, Croll also trained such notables as Mr. Prospector, who held the six furlong track record at Gulfstream Park, and 1987 Belmont Stakes winner Bet Twice, who was one of Croll's three Haskell winners at Monmouth Park.

While a top conditioner for decades, Croll's crowning achievement came in 1994 when he was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame.  Just one year prior, he inherited Holy Bull from longtime owner Rachel Carpenter, who passed away just before that horse broke his maiden.

Holy Bull went on to win the Florida Derby, Met Mile, Haskell, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup, before entering his stud career.

In 2002, Croll turned over the day-to-day operations of his stable to his son, William E. Croll, but remained active in racing as an owner.

He is survived by his wife Roberta "Bobbi", his son and a daughter, Nancy.

Final arrangements are pending.

 

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June 5, 2008

INDY WIND BEGINS FAREWELL TOUR IN FRISK ME NOW SATURDAY

Monmouth Park.com

 

Hardacre Farm's Indy Wind, who debuted here with such whirlwind promise almost exactly three years ago (June 11, 2005), will be out for a series of last hurrahs this summer at Monmouth, starting with Saturday's $70,000 Frisk Me Now Stakes.

The 6-year-old son of A.P. Indy - Zagora, by Kingmambo, trained by owner Amy Tarrant, will be looking for a repeat score in the one mile and 70-yard Frisk Me Now, which he won last year by running down the always-tough Gottcha Gold.

"He's coming into the race this year about the same way he did last year," Tarrant said. "He needs to run because he hasn't started since March 15 (fifth in the Grade 3 Skip Away Handicap at Gulfstream). He hasn't breezed since May 25 because the weather kept getting in the way," Tarrant said, "but he's fit enough to run well here."

Last year, Indy Wind came into the Frisk Me Now off a nearly three-month break. But his love of Monmouth and a heady ride by Kyle Branch had him rolling through the stretch to win by nearly two lengths over Gottcha Gold.  That colt went on to win the Salvator Mile and Iselin Stakes, both Grade 3 events.

Tarrant has been trying to get Indy Wind to win a graded stakes for two years, and plans to give the Kentucky-bred another shot this season.

"This will be his last year at the races," Tarrant said. "He'll probably stand at stud in Florida next year. I'd like to get a graded stakes on his record before he retires. So we'll put him in the Salvator Mile (July 5) after the Frisk Me Now to see if he can do it.

"And I haven't ruled out trying him on the turf again," the trainer said. "He's bred for it, and he had good excuses in his only two grass races."

Indy Wind tried grass for the first time in the 2006 running of the Grade 3 Red Bank. He was rank and sprinted to an early lead he could not sustain. The competition that day was formidable, too, since the race was won by eventual Breeders' Cup winner and champion turf horse Miesque's Approval.

He ran better in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands that season, but was stuck on the inside and never had a clear run.

After winning the Alysheba Stakes at the Meadowlands last Nov. 3, Indy Wind shipped to Florida with the rest of Tarrant's horses. He started in the Grade 3 Fred Hooper at Calder on Dec. 15, finishing 10th of 12, and in the Skip Away at Gulf on March 15, finishing fifth of eight.

"He absolutely hated the track at Calder," Tarrant said, "because it was deep and sandy. And he didn't like the Gulfstream track either.

"He likes fast racetracks, and that's why he does well at Monmouth (a 5-1-3 mark in 9 starts) and the Meadowlands (a perfect two-for-two). So he'll finish his career in New Jersey."

Indy Wind burst on the local scene as a 3-year-old in 2005, when he came from dead last in a six-furlong maiden race to win by a length and a half, going away. His second start, on July 2 that year, was equally dramatic as he led start to finish at a mile and a sixteenth, and drew off to win by more than 10 lengths.

He was injured after that race, cutting off his hopes of a berth in the Haskell Invitational, and a series of minor injuries over the seasons has compromised his considerable promise.

Not that he hasn't tried. Last Sept. 30, Indy Wind ran in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a Grade 1 event at Belmont. He finished sixth, beaten 17 lengths by Horse of the Year Curlin.

"His goals this year will be a little more modest," Tarrant said. "He'll try the Grade 3 stakes here and maybe at the Meadowlands."

Stewart Elliott gets the mount on Indy Wind for the first time Saturday.

"Stewart got to know him when he breezed Indy (five furlongs in 1:01 2/5 on May 25)," Tarrant said. "Indy needs a patient rider who can time his move just right, and Stewart knows how to do that."

 

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June 4, 2008

KYLE BRANCH OUT 2-3 WEEKS WITH SPRAINED WRIST

Monmouth Park.com


Jockey Kyle Branch, injured in a freak paddock accident here Saturday, got some good news Monday when doctors determined he suffered a sprain rather than a fracture of his left wrist.

Agent Doug Hatten said the apprentice rider will be out two to three weeks, and is expected to be back riding at the end of June.

Branch broke his left hand here last year on June 9, and underwent surgery to repair the damage. He started riding again last month.

On Saturday, he was thrown from a horse while walking around the paddock. It was initially feared he had re-fractured the left wrist, but tests showed it was a sprain.

Branch can still claim a five-pound apprentice allowance. He has suffered several injuries since he started riding, and has had apprentice extensions totaling 330 days.

 

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June 1, 2008

OUR FRIEND HARVEY TRIUMPHS IN SUNDAY'S WOLF HILL STAKES

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Laurence I. Foggle's Our Friend Harvey rallied strongest through the stretch and posted a two-length victory in the $60,000 Wolf Hill Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

Trained by Tim Hills, Our Friend Harvey covered the 5 1/2 furlongs over "good" turf in 1:02 flat and returned $15.80, $9.40 and $5.60. John's Pic completed a $175.20 exacta and paid $14 and $7.40. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Hesa Big Star, who returned $2.60 as the 9-5 choice in the 10 horse field.

"This horse was really awesome," said winning rider Joe Bravo. "He broke sharp and was able to relax off the quick pace that was set up front. I felt great turning for home because I had so much horse underneath me, and when I asked him, he kicked in nicely."

Sunday's win marked the third in 18 lifetime starts for Our Friend Harvey, a 4-year-old gelding by Put It Back from the Out of Place mare Very Laughable. He has now earned $104,851 for his connections.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Wednesday, June 4 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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May 31, 2008

INDY JOE DEFEATS ROUGH ROAD AHEAD IN RUMSON STAKES; SAKI TO ME, $44.80, UPSETS LITTLE SILVER AT MONMOUTH

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Indy Joe made the muddy track look fast at Monmouth Park Saturday as he powered to a one-length victory in the $70,000 Rumson Stakes for 3-year-olds.

In the day's second feature, Saki To Me pulled off a surprise win in the $65,000 Little Silver Stakes, which was moved from the turf course to the main track.

Indy Joe, trained by Mark Shuman and ridden by Joe Bravo, stopped the timer in 1:09 2/5 for six furlongs and paid $6.40, $4 and $2.80 across the board as second choice in the field of eight.

Rough Road Ahead had dead aim on the winner through the stretch, but could not go by and settled for the place, four lengths ahead of Go Go Shoot, the favorite. Rough Road Ahead paid $10.80 to place and $4.40 to show to complete the $57.20 exacta. Go Go Shoot returned $2.60 to show.

Indy Joe, a son of Indy King owned by the partnership of Circle Z., Masone & Shuman, earned a prize of $42,000 for winning his second race of the year in four starts. This was his first career stakes victory.

The winner sat behind fast early fractions of :21 2/5 for the quarter and :44 1/5 for the half before assuming command entering the stretch. Once in front, he repulsed a challenge from Go Go Shoot, and then held Rough Road Ahead safe the final sixteenth.

"He's bred to run all day long," Shuman said. "But he's really good sprinting. He ran his eyeballs out last time (4th in the G3 Hirsch Jacobs at Pimlico) and (jockey Garrett) Gomez told us that he had a ton of speed and could be very, very dangerous if we could harness it.

"All the money for 3-year-olds is for going long, so it's obviously tempting to try to stretch him out. At the same time, what Gomez said really sticks in my mind - his opinion is one I respect. I don't want to say he won't stretch out again, but right now the plan is to bring him back to Monmouth for the Jersey Shore (Grade 3 on July 4), and we'll decide after that," Shuman said.

In the Little Silver, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile, Saki To Me circled rivals on the far turn and charged into the lead nearing the eighth pole. She opened two lengths, but then was all out to hold off Forest Trail, the 2-1 favorite, in the final yards to score by a half-length.

Trained by Stanley Hough and ridden by Pablo Fragoso, Saki To Me paid $44.80, $14.80 and $8.40 across the board. Forest Trail completed the $170.60 exacta and returned $4 to place and $3.20 to show. Dagger finished third, four lengths farther back, and paid $3.60 to show.

This was the second career stakes win on a wet track for Saki To Me, a daughter of Fusaichi Pegasus who took the Blue Hen Stakes last year at Delaware.

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May 31, 2008

COCOA PUFF COMES TO MONMOUTH PARK

Monmouth Park.com

From the moment Cocoa Puff arrived at Monmouth Park, he was quick to let his new thoroughbred friends know who was the big man in town. Just a scant 34” tall, Cocoa Puff is now the big horse at Monmouth Park as the new mascot for Family Fun Days and Dawn Patrol.

The cocoa-colored Cocoa Puff was rescued from an abusive home over a year ago by Long Branch resident Kathi Owens. Upon finding him beaten and hungry, Kathi loaded Cocoa Puff into her mini-van and brought him home to Long Branch. There he resided on her ½-acre property until the town of Long Branch notified Owens that she was in violation of a city ordinance requiring horse owners to have one acre per horse. Owens battled the town for over six months to no avail until she was forced to remove Cocoa Puff from the city limits.

Upon learning she had lost the battle with the town, Owens contacted Monmouth Park and asked for assistance in placing Cocoa Puff. The rest, as they say, is history.

Thanks to the kindness of trainer Alan Seewald and Senior Vice President of Racing, Dennis Dowd, Cocoa Puff will now have a permanent home at Monmouth Park and a new role. Cocoa Puff will serve as the face of Monmouth Park’s Family Fun Days and play an educational roll during the free Dawn Patrol Morning Programs.

The miniature horse will make appearances every Sunday as part of Monmouth Park’s Free Family Fun Days. He will also be available for appearances for group parties for a small donation to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation.

Cocoa Puff will be celebrating his second birthday at Monmouth Park on June 22.

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May 26, 2008

SOCIAL QUEEN BEATS THE QUEEN'S MEDLEY IN POLITELY STAKES

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Jayeff B Stables' Social Queen charged hard down the center of the turf course to post a neck victory in the $70,000 Politely Stakes at Monmouth Park on Memorial Day before a crowd of 11,854.

In the $60,000 Open Mind Handicap for New Jersey-bred fillies and mares, Heckuva Good Time pushed past pacesetter Pure Disco to score a length and three-quarters victory after stepping six furlongs over the fast main track in 1:09 3/5.

Ridden by Jose Lezcano, Social Queen covered the mile over firm turf in 1:34 4/5 and returned $16.40, $9.40 and $5.40. Medley, owned by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, set most of the pace before just getting nipped at the wire. The exacta returned $102.60, with Medley returning $5.60 and $4.20 to place and show, respectively. Royalties returned $5.20 to show and rounded out a "royal" hunch trifecta of $515.60.

"Jose did exactly what I wanted him to do," said winning trainer Alan Goldberg. "I just said to sit off the early pace and make one big run with her. The trip worked out as we had hoped it would. We'll probably bring her back and run her in the Eatontown Stakes (Grade 3, $150,000 on June 14) in three weeks."

The Politely Stakes win marked the fourth in ten starts for Social Queen, a 4-year-old filly by Dynaformer from the Irgun mare Gal On the Go. She has now banked $146,880 for her connections.

Heckuva Good Time, who gave jockey Jose Lezcano a stakes sweep, topped a $39.20 exacta. Pure Disco returned $3.40 to place and $2.40 to show after besting odds-on favorite Talkin About Love, $2.20 to show, by a head.

"We entered hoping to get her stakes placed," said winning trainer Mark Shuman, "but sometimes when you're running for third, everything goes your way and you get a great ride and win it.

"She was a little green in the stretch, but she's a lightly raced 4-year-old with lots of room to improve. She's a nice filly and it looks like she'll just get better with time."

Monday's victory marked the second consecutive and third overall in seven starts for the daughter of Afternoon Deelites from the Gilded Time mare Heckuva Time. She has earned $112,400 for owner Golden Dome Stable.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Thursday, May 29 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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May 25, 2008

FOR KISSES RALLIES TO WIN MONMOUTH BEACH STAKES

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Buckingham Farm's For Kisses rallied on the outside before taking command in late stretch and posting a two length win in the $70,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes at Monmouth Park on Sunday, before a crowd of 12,170.

In the $65,000 Lamplighter Stakes, El Sultry Sun closed quickly down the inside to post a nose victory after stepping the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:41 flat.

For Kisses, trained by Richard Small, covered the mile and 70 yards over a fast main track in 1:41 3/5 and returned $19.80, $6.20 and $3.40. Adorable Jane completed the $72.20 exacta and paid $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show. Race favorite Prop Me Up was another three-quarters of a length back in third, good for a $2.10 show mutuel.

"She's a one-run type of horse," said winning rider C.H. Marquez Jr. "I was told to just take my time and wait for her to let me know she's ready. I was able to get her to save ground and at the 5/16ths pole she started to pick it up really well and I just let her go."

The Monmouth Beach score was the eighth in 24 starts for the 5-year-old mare by Not For Love from the Frosty the Snowman mare Palliser Bay, who has now banked $310,856. Her connections indicated she might be back at Monmouth later in the meet for the Molly Pitcher Stakes (Grade 2) on Aug. 24.

El Sultry Sun returned $7, $2.80 and $2.40 in winning the Lamplighter. Prussian, the post-time favorite paid $2.80 and $2.20 and completed a $19.60 exacta. It was another half length back to Run Sully Run, who returned $2.80 to show.

A 3-year-old colt by Eltish, El Sultry Sun is from the mare Sultry Sun, who captured the 1984 Molly Pitcher at Monmouth Park and has thrown Grade 1 winners Solar Splendor and Sultry Song. El Sultry Sun's victory improved his lifetime mark to 3-1-1 from five starts. He has now earned $167,285 for his owner, Live Oak Plantation, who also campaigned his dam.

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May 24, 2008

BUDDY'S HUMOR CAPTURES ELKWOOD ON MONMOUTH TURF

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Kingfield Stable's Buddy's Humor avoided trouble in the stretch and scored a half-length victory in Saturday's $70,000 Elkwood Stakes, the first turf stakes of the 2008 season at Monmouth Park.

In the day's other feature, the $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap, John Petrini's Joey P. took the lead from the start and never looked back, scoring by two and a quarter lengths as the 2-5 favorite.

Buddy's Humor, trained by Bruce Levine, stopped the timer in 1:34 flat for the mile over firm turf with Jose Lezcano aboard. Yankee Master was second, with Icy Atlantic third.

The race was marred by a spill in the stretch, when Silent Roar, the 5-2 favorite, fell suddenly, throwing jockey Stewart Elliott to the ground. Elliott was sent to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch for pre-cautionary X-rays. Jersey Kid and Classic Campaign lost their riders avoiding the fallen horse, but Angel Arroyo and Eddie Castro were not hurt.

Buddy's Humor, second choice in the field of 10, paid $8.80, $5 and $4.60 across the board, and topped a $155.20 exacta with Yankee Master, a 13-1 chance who paid $9.60 to place and $7.80 to show. Icy Atlantic paid $4.60 to show.

"He's a very professional horse," Lezcano said of Buddy's Humor. "He broke well and was able to relax early. We just followed the speed throughout the early splits, and when I asked him, he responded. This is a very nice horse."

This was the first start for Buddy's Humor at Monmouth since he won the Jersey Derby here last August.

In the John J. Reilly 'Cap at six furlongs on the fast main track, jockey Joe Bravo rode Joey P. like he was the best horse, and he was right about that, as the 6-year-old scored a front-running victory, stopping the timer in 1:09 flat as the 2-5 favorite.

Who's the Cowboy, lagging behind a bit early in his first start of the season, unleashed some of his old fire in the stretch as he ran down Hey Chub by a neck to gain the place, finishing two and a quarter lengths behind the winner. Hey Chub, winner of last year's Reilly, chased Joey P. the whole way and gave up second grudgingly in the final strides.

Ben Perkins Jr., who trains Joey P., scored a bi-state stakes double. He was on hand at Philly Park to saddle Wild Gams for a win in the My Juliet Stakes, run just 10 minutes before Joey P. took the Reilly.

Contacted by phone, Perkins said, "We told Joe to just use his judgment leaving there. From the one-hole you don't want to get stuck behind runners. He's such a big, long-striding horse that those fractions were just natural for him."

Joey P., a son of Close Up, won his 12th sprint event at Monmouth in his 20th start over the track. He was coming off four straight second-place finishes, including a neck loss in the Decathlon Stakes here on May 10.

Joey P. paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10 across the board, and topped a $19 exacta with Who's the Cowboy, who returned $6.40 to place and $4.20 to show. Hey Chub was $4.40 to show.

Joey P. took command from the gate, whistling through a quarter in :21 3/5 and a half in :44 1/5. He drew off from Hey Chub through the stretch, and had plenty of margin left to hold Who's the Cowboy safe.

"With the inside post, I figured I'd put him on the lead and play catch-me-if-you-can," said Bravo. "I knew I was on the best horse."

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May 18, 2008

KICKAPOO TAKES FIRST EVER 4 1/2 FURLONG CONTEST AT MONMOUTH

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - For the second time in three days, Monmouth Park set a new course record when a new distance debuted at the 62-year-old racetrack. In Sunday's fifth race, Kickapoo battled early before drawing clear late to capture the 4 1/2 furlong fifth race, an event for maiden 2-year-olds.

Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by 13-time leading rider Joe Bravo, Kickapoo covered the distance over a fast main track in 51.95 and returned $5.80, $3 and $2.20 as the second choice in the field of seven. It was 3 1/4 lengths back to runner-up Atomic Rain, who paid $3.80 and $2.40 and completed a $21.20 exacta. Wild Proof, sent off the 8-5 favorite, was another length and a half back in third, good for a $2.10 show mutuel.

Kickapoo, who races in the colors of Dogwood Stable, broke his maiden in his second career try. The colt by Indian Charlie from the Siphon mare Rainbow's End has now earned $22,200 for his connections.

On last Friday's card, maiden 2-year-old fillies went two furlongs in the day's third race, with Go Time setting a new record of 22.08 as the distance was contested for the first time.

Live racing returns to Monmouth Park on Friday, May 23 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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May 17, 2008

D'WILD RIDE CAPTURES JUST SMASHING STAKES AT MONMOUTH

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - D'wild Ride gained command turning for home and held off the late charge of Sumptuous to post a half-length victory in the $65,000 Just Smashing Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday.

Trained by Joe Orseno, D'wild Ride covered the 5 1/2 furlongs over a fast main track in 1:03 1/5 and returned $6.80 and $3.40. Sumptuous paid $2.60 to place and completed a $19.60 exacta. Odds-on favorite Mikeslittlegirl was another two lengths back in third with Fist of the Fleet rounding out the field of 3-year-old fillies. There was no show wagering offered after the field scratched down to four entrants.

"Joe (Orseno) did a great job getting this filly ready today," said winning rider Joe Bravo. "She broke really well and was able to settle down nice and easy down the backstretch. Turning for home she just turned it on down the lane."

Saturday's win marked the third in five starts for D'wild Ride, a filly by D'wildcat from the Peace for Peace mare Summer Storm. She has now earned $80,440 for her owner, Silly Goose Racing Stable.

Live racing continues at Monmouth Park on Sunday, May 18 - first post 12:50 p.m.

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May 16, 2008

GO TIME WINS FASTEST RACE EVER RUN AT MONMOUTH, STOPPING TIMER IN :22 IN FIRST 2-YEAR-OLD RACE OF YEAR

Monmouth Park.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Go Time, a 2-year-old chestnut filly who was fulfilling her destiny, captured the first two-furlong race ever run at Monmouth Park, splashing to victory in 22 seconds for the quarter-mile.

Go Time, trained by Jim Ryerson and ridden by Jose Lezcano, scored by two lengths over Hold Dance, with Sandi's Ready, the 3-2 favorite, a half-length farther back in third.

The winner, bred and owned by the partnership of Devil Eleven Stable and Michael Montagano, paid $6.40, $4.40 and $2.80 across the board in the field of six juvenile fillies. Hold Dance, the longest shot in the field at 22-1, completed a $91.80 exacta and returned $13.40 and $5.20 to place and show. Sandi's Ready paid $2.80 to show.

Hold Dance broke fastest and held the lead for a furlong, but Go Time asserted herself the last eighth of a mile and was pulling away at the finish.

Go Time is a daughter of Songandaprayer, who broke his maiden at first asking at Monmouth Park. That stallion's sire, Unbridled's Song, also won his first start at Monmouth.

This was the first race ever run on a straightaway out of the quarter-mile chute at Monmouth, and thus the final time (officially :22.08) goes into the record books as a track record, and also as the fastest race ever run here since Monmouth opened in 1946.

Because of the abbreviated distance, the riders did not carry whips.

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May 10, 2008

RAVALO HOLDS OFF JOEY P., MADDY'S LION TO WIN DECATHLON

Monmouth Park.com

Oceanport, N.J. - Lindy M. Redding's Ravalo set quick early fractions before holding off a pair of late charges by Joey P. and Maddy's Lion to capture the featured $70,000 Decathlon Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday by a neck.

Ravalo rattled off a quarter in :21 3/5 before hitting the half-mile pole in :43 4/5. He stopped the timer in 1:08 1/5 for the six furlongs over the muddy track. Joey P., who stalked the pacesetter throughout, returned $3.60 and $2.80 and completed a $17.20 exacta. Maddy's Lion closed to finish another head back in third and paid $3.60.

"He likes to be on the front so you have to hustle him out of the gate to get him going," said Donald Barr, who conditions the Kentucky-bred gelding. "We knew we would have to run fast to win this race and we went to the half in :43 4/5, you can't go too much faster than that."

Jockey Mike Luzzi concurred with the trainer, "I sent him as hard as I could right out of the gate. Turning for home, I knew the horse that was outside of me (Joey P.) is a fighter so I just kept riding."

A 4-year-old by Mutakddim from the Southern Halo mare Momentary Hope, Ravalo now sports a record of 8-3-2 from 16 starts and lifetime earnings of $333,907.

A 10-race program is on tap for Mother's Day at Monmouth Park, first post 12:50 p.m.

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May 9, 2008

OPENING DAYS GETS SOAKED

By MIKE FARRELL , Daily Racing Form

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Monmouth Park picked up right where it left off - in a driving rainstorm.

Monmouth opened Friday with its first card since hosting the Breeders' Cup last October.

It poured on Breeders' Cup weekend, although the sun finally broke through to shine on the final event: Curlin's victory in the Classic.

Opening day dawned with more of the same: buckets of rain on a cool afternoon with the temperatures in the mid-50s.

Unfortunately, there was no rainbow to brighten opening day.

It was a soggy start to the 99-day meet that runs through Sept. 28. The sloppy track was sealed, and scratches were plentiful.

The miserable conditions held the opening-day turnout with 3,463 to launch another racing season on the Jersey Shore.

The meet got off to a familiar start as Joe Bravo took the opener aboard Al the Usher ($5.80). "Jersey Joe" has already won 13 titles at Monmouth.

The resumption of the Belmont Park simulcasts was a rare bright spot on an otherwise gloomy day.

The New York Racing Association and the cooperative representing Monmouth and the other tracks in the Mid-Atlantic region reached an agreement Thursday to resume the simulcasts.

Belmont simulcasts are an important part of the wagering mix at Monmouth. Last year, players at Monmouth bet an average of $215,000 a day on Belmont - the most popular signal at the track this time of year.

State committee hears industry views

Members of the New Jersey State Senate Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee were opening-day visitors at Monmouth.

The committee held a lengthy public hearing during which 18 speakers were scheduled to address the panel with status reports on the state's racing industry. The hearing was largely informational.

"We don't have any specific legislation before us," said the committee's chairman, Jim Whelan.

In addition to building a case for slot machines or video lottery terminals to help stabilize the racing industry, Dennis Drazin, president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, took the owners of the state's four tracks to task for the slow rollout of offtrack betting throughout the state.

Drazin pointed to legislation passed in 2001 that authorized 15 outlets. To date, only three have opened.

"We need to fast-track the OTBs," Drazin told the panel. "They would take us a long way toward self-sufficiency."

McCauley returns a winner

Herb McCauley sported one of biggest grins on the miserable afternoon.

"Show me the money!" McCauley said, tossing the whip to the valet as he returned to the winner's circle after Casino Transaction won the $70,000 Red Cross Stakes for fillies and mares.

McCauley was back in the chips at Monmouth for the first time since suffering a severely broken leg in a spill here in 1998 that seemingly ended his career.

"It's been 10 years since I've ridden here," McCauley said. "The last stakes horse I rode was called Good and Tough. The man above looks at me as being pretty good, even though I am not perfect."

McCauley, who launched a comeback last fall, guided Casino Transaction ($13.80) to a three-quarter-length win.

"I'm not sure who I was happier for, me or Herbie," said winning trainer Greg Sacco.

Casino Transaction survived a claim of foul by Jeremy Rose aboard Circuit Breaker, who was second under the line.

As it turned out, Circuit Breaker was disqualified to fourth for interference against Devil House.

In the revised order of finish, Jenny Bean Girl was elevated to second, with Devil House third.

The time was 1:09.04 for the six furlongs in the slop.

 

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May 9, 2008

CASINO TRANSACTION, HERB McCAULEY ABOARD, UPSETS RED CROSS STAKES AS MONMOUTH'S 2008 MEETING OPENS

MP.com

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Red Oak Stable's Casino Transaction splashed to a front-running upset victory in the $70,000 Red Cross Stakes Friday, as Monmouth Park opened a 99-day Thoroughbred meeting.

All-day rains kept attendance down, but the 3,463 fans on hand for the 2008 opener were enthusiastic that live action had returned to the "Resort of Racing."

"While Mother Nature might not have been on our side, the fans certainly were," said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority. "We kicked things off with 10 really competitive races and the wagering reflected it.

"The first of 99 racing days this meet is in the books, and we're looking forward to another great season at the Jersey Shore," Dowd said.

Casino Transaction, trained by Greg Sacco, took the track from the start under Herb McCauley, and never allowed her rivals to get close as she scored by three-quarters of a length, stopping the timer in a fast 1:09 flat for six furlongs.

It was the first stakes victory at Monmouth in 10 years for McCauley, who came out of retirement late last season. The 51-year-old rider was among the leading riders at Monmouth before being sidelined by serious injuries.

Circuit Breaker finished second in the field of five, but was disqualified and placed fourth for bumping with Devil House at the top of the stretch. Jenny Bean Girl ($8.20, $3.60), the longest shot on the board at 12-1, was moved to second, and Devil House ($4.40) was placed third.

Pure Disco, the favorite in the field of five fillies and mares, finished last.

Casino Transaction, a 4-year-old daughter of Carson City, paid $13.80, $6.80 and $4.20 across the board and topped an $88 exacta with Jenny Bean Girl.

"I didn't really give Herbie any instructions," Sacco said. "I just told him to break and play it from there. She was working well for this. I'm not sure who I was happier for, Herbie or me!"

"I was able to get to the quarter-pole with some horse left under me," McCauley said. "In the lane she got a little tired, but she dug in and held on for me."

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May 7, 2008

SEASON OPENS ON FRIDAY, MAY 9 AT HISTORIC MONMOUTH PARK AS THE RACING INDUSTRY FACES MANY CHALLENGES

Monmouth Park.com

With the Breeders' Cup a pleasant memory, Monmouth Park launches its 63rd season of Thoroughbred racing on Friday, May 9, as the New Jersey racing industry faces many challenges.

The 2008 meeting, scheduled to run 99 days through September 28 annually demonstrates the great affinity the people of the state have for racing and is a highlight for the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the racetrack.

Dennis R. Robinson, president and chief executive officer of the NJSEA, feels this year is crucial to the future of Thoroughbred racing in the state.

"Racing has always been important to New Jersey," Robinson said. "It's a $1 billion-a-year industry. It fosters open space, promotes agriculture and provides a host of jobs that generate revenue for the state.

"But it's under competitive attack from many sides right now. The competition from other states is not just for horses anymore, but also for the gaming dollar. We're now surrounded by states with racetracks that offer slot machines, VLTs and expanded gambling options.

"The choice seems clear," Robinson said, "We need to take steps to ensure the racing industry not only continues to exist in New Jersey, but flourishes. "We at the Sports Authority are committed to the long-range health of racing as an integral part of a better quality of life for all New Jerseyans."

Monmouth will offer purses of some $330,000 a day for this meeting, the same as horsemen raced for during the 2007 meeting. The purse money was provided in large part by the agreement between Atlantic City casinos and the racetracks forestalling the introduction of slot machines into the tracks.

"We are thankful of the hard work by Governor Corzine to facilitate the

agreement, and we are working now with the Administration and the Legislature on a necessary long-term solution," Robinson said.

With the infusion of substantial purse money, Monmouth will be able to be competitive in the ultra-active Eastern racing picture.

"Our overnight purse structure is among the best in the region," said Dennis Dowd, senior executive vice president/racing for the NJSEA. "And we have an outstanding stakes program that should attract the best horses available.

"One of the lasting benefits of hosting the Breeders' Cup," Dowd said, "is that many prominent horsemen who were introduced to Monmouth for the first time last October now are aware of our tradition of excellence. They know we're a great place to run their top horses."

Monmouth will offer 80 stakes races, including 13 graded events, during the 99-day meeting. The centerpiece, as always, is the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational on August 3, which again carries a purse of $1 million. The Haskell tops a Sunday card that offers six other stakes races, including the Grade 3 Oceanport and Grade 3 Taylor Made Matchmaker.

Taking center stage in midsummer will be the $750,000 United Nations Stakes on July 5, a Grade 1 grass event that anchors Monmouth's spectacular Fourth of July weekend action. Other stakes to be run that Friday, Saturday and Sunday include the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes on Friday, July 4; the Grade 3 Salvator Mile Stakes on Saturday, July 5, and the Miss Liberty Stakes and Colts Neck Handicap on Sunday, July 6.

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May 7, 2008

BREEDERS' CUP GARDEN, RESTORED PICNIC AREA TOP 'WHAT'S NEW' LIST AS MONMOUTH OPENS 63RD SEASON

Monmouth Park.com

Monmouth Park heads into its 2008 meeting with a holdover glow from Breeders' Cup 2007, restoration of some old favorites, and a list of innovations for its 63rd season of Thoroughbred sport.

Horace (Smitty) Smith, Monmouth's assistant vice president of operations outlined what's new, what's old, and what's updated for this season of sport. First, what's new:

Breeders' Cup Park – The area in front of the jockeys' room, which once sported an Olympic-sized swimming pool, and more recently a Breeders' Cup hospitality tent, has been converted to a green area with the addition of sod, pathways and benches. "We're commemorating the Breeders' Cup winners with plaques and jockey silks honoring the champions that competed at Monmouth last fall," Smith said.

Expanded Gift Shop – The gift shop on the first floor of the grandstand has been nearly tripled in size and will include memorabilia that pays tribute to Hall of Champions members and Haskell winners as well as newly created fashions and souvenirs.

Renovated Grandstand Café – The semicircular extension at the back of the grandstand that overlooks the main gate was completely renovated and opened in time to serve as indoor seating for the Breeders' Cup. "It's now called the Grandstand Café, and will have seating for a number of food concessions,"Smith said.

Picnic Area Tent – A large tent that was erected for Breeders' Cup over the old railway siding to the west of the picnic area will remain on a permanent basis. "The tent will provide sheltered mutuels and televisions for the people in the picnic area," Smith said.

Restored Picnic Area – The area along the homestretch that was totally transformed for Breeders' Cup with blacktop and bleachers, has been completely rebuilt and restored to its former verdant glory. "We put down sod over the entire area," Smith said. "The tables with umbrellas are all back in place and new plastic vinyl fencing has been added to the group areas."

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May 7, 2008

MONMOUTH RACING LOOKS LIKE A 99-DAY WINNING MIX OF SOME STRONG NEWCOMERS AND MANY STEADY OLD FAVORITES

Monmouth Park.com

Monmouth Park enters its 63rd season of Thoroughbred racing with a well-rounded backstretch, composed of new faces and old friends.

Director of racing Mike Dempsey said the 2008 purse structure of more than $300,000 a day has attracted several outfits to Monmouth for the first time this year.

Newcomers to the backstretch for the 99-day meet include trainers Steve DiMauro (20 horses), Barclay Tagg (30), Anthony Dutrow (24), A. Ferris Allen (25), and Giuseppe Iadisernia (20). Most of them have shipped individual horses in for Monmouth races in the past, but this will be the first time they've had large strings stabled here.

Though the newcomers always promise to make the meet interesting, Monmouth's strong traditions dictate that the regulars will take a lot of beating, as usual.

Returning for another meet at the "Resort of Racing" are all the top names of seasons past, including Todd Pletcher, who won the training title last season with 33 wins; Bruce Levine and Jason Servis, who tied for second with 31 wins, and Rick Dutrow, Patricia Farrow, Kelly Breen, Tim Hills, Bruce Alexander and Frank Costa, who rounded out the Top 10.

And many of the trainers coming back again are bringing some old favorites with them.

Eddie Plesa Jr. will be stabled at Monmouth again, and he's bringing two horses who bear close watching. Gottcha Gold has been a stakes winner at Monmouth the last two seasons, and gave the home crowd a thrill by finishing second in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile here last October. The 5-year-old, who won the Skip Away Stakes at Gulfstream in his 2008 debut, will ship north after running in a stakes race at Calder on Memorial Day. He'll be aiming for repeat scores in both the Grade 3 Salvator Mile (July 5) and the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes (Aug. 16). Plesa also has a candidate for Monmouth's $1 million Haskell Invitational (Aug. 3) in Bea Oxenberg's Hey Bryn, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream in his last start.

The Sleeter Family, composed of breeder Carolyn, owner Gerry and trainer Kevin, will again have a barn full of talented New Jersey-breds. Coming back for this meet are the 4-year-old Talkin About Love, who won the Grade 3 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks here last year, and the 6-year-old Who's the Cowboy, a multiple stakes winner here who will be looking to rebound off his only poor season. Talkin About Love will waste no time in showing her stuff, as she's slated to start in the $70,000 Red Cross Stakes on Opening Day this Friday.

Ben Perkins Jr. will again put a saddle on New Jersey's own Joey P., who has become a true Monmouth favorite. The 6-year-old, owned by John Petrini, has won 11 of 18 Monmouth starts, including the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Stakes. He'll be in action this Saturday in the $70,000 Decathlon Stakes.

Trainer Mary Hartmann is bringing back Presious Passion, a horse who has the knack of springing an upset on grass. The 5-year-old gelding was the upset winner of the Jersey Derby here in 2006, and last year won the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at the Meadowlands at a big price and the Grade 2 McKnight Handicap at Calder, paying $136.20 to win. He's already put in a couple of shockers this year in Florida by winning the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida at 18-1, and the Grade 3 Pan American Handicap at 20-1. He's a candidate for Monmouth's Grade 1 United Nations Stakes (July 5).

And speaking of old friends, no Monmouth meet would be complete without the presence of American Freedom. The Marquetry gelding, whose gray coat is rapidly turning white, has been running at Monmouth since 2001, when he broke his maiden here. Jamie Woodington, who trains the 10-year-old for Freedom Acres, Inc., is confident she can find a good spot on grass where American Freedom can add to his lifetime mark of 11 wins in 34 starts at Monmouth.

Prop Me Up, whose victories in the Lady's Secret Stakes here and the Long Look Strakes at the Meadowlands prompted her connections to run her in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Distaff, will be back in action again. The 6-year-old mare, now trained by Joe Orseno for Silly Goose Racing Stable, is slated to go in the $70,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes on May 25.

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April 15, 2008
MONMOUTH STABLE AREA OPENS FOR 2008 SEASON AS HORSES RETURN TO JERSEY SHORE FOR 99-DAY MEET
MP.com

Oceanport, N.J. – Horses returned to Monmouth Park Racetrack this morning, a sure sign that the summer months are fast approaching with the racing season at the Shore oval set to get underway on Friday, May 9.

The first of the arrivals came from the barn of Greg Sacco, whose Foreverness, owned by John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, was the first to set foot down in the Monmouth backstretch at 6:15 a.m., before being bedded down in barn 6.

“It’s fantastic to be home,” said Sacco, who will have a stable of 40 for the 2008 meet. “It’s part of our tradition. My family hasn’t missed a racing season here, going back to 1946.”

Joining Sacco for opening day of the stable area were trainers Jim Ryerson and Frank Costa.

Some new faces expected to join the familiar ranks of the Monmouth trainers this year are: Ferris Allen, Steve DiMauro, Anthony Dutrow and Barclay Tagg, who campaigned 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide.

The racing surface is scheduled to open for training on Wednesday. A total of 99 racing programs will be offered at Monmouth this year with the meet running through Sept. 28. Post time for the 2008 season will be 12:50 p.m.

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April 14, 2008

First Horses Arrive at Monmouth Park
ORR.com

Bloodhorse.com is reporting that horses returned to Monmouth Park in New Jersey the morning of April 14 to prepare for a 99-day meet that gets under way May 9.

The first of the arrivals came from the barn of Greg Sacco. Foreverness, owned by John Brunetti’s Red Oak Stable, was the first to set foot in the Monmouth backstretch at 6:15 a.m. EDT before being bedded down in Barn 6.

“It’s fantastic to be home,” said Sacco, who will have a stable of 40 for the 2008 meet. “It’s part of our tradition. My family hasn’t missed a racing season here, going back to 1946.”

Joining Sacco for opening day of the stable area were trainers Frank Costa and Jim Ryerson. Costa was second in the trainer standings at the 2007 Meadowlands meet, the most recent Thoroughbred meet in New Jersey.

Some new faces expected at Monmouth this year are A. Ferris Allen, Steve DiMauro, Anthony Dutrow, and Barclay Tagg, who trained 2003 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Funny Cide.

The racing surface is scheduled to open for training April 16. The meet runs through Sept. 28, with first post set for 12:50 p.m.

The live Thoroughbred racing season in New Jersey actually begins April 23 with the first of six all-turf programs at Atlantic City Race Course. Atlantic City wraps up its meet May 2, with Monmouth opening a week later.

Meadowlands, currently open for harness racing, will offer Thoroughbred racing beginning Sept. 9. The track will race one day a week in September before expanding its schedule in October after Monmouth closes.

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February 21, 2008

Monmouth Announces Stakes Schedule
ORR.com

The Bloodhorse is reporting that the Monmouth Stakes Schedule will be headlined by the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I) on Aug. 3, Monmouth Park will offer $3.85 million in graded stakes for the 2008 racing season, which runs from May 9 through Sept. 28.

The biggest change to the 2008 schedule is the date switch for the Salvator Mile (gr. III), which will boast a purse of $300,000, double that of last year, and will be contested July 5 along with the $750,000 United Nations (gr. I). Both races will kick off this year’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge, Win and You’re In series.

“We are proud to offer such a lucrative stakes schedule,” said Dennis Dowd, senior vice president of racing for the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority, which owns and operates Monmouth Park. “Monmouth’s stakes races have always attracted the top horses in all divisions and we look forward to presenting racing fans in New Jersey with talent-filled, competitive fields this summer.”

If including the $150,000 Long Branch, a non-graded stakes that is Monmouth’s traditional prep for the Haskell, the stakes schedule hits $4 million.

Other highlights of the 2008 racing season includes the $300,000 Iselin Stakes (gr. III) on Aug. 16, and the $300,000 Molly Pitcher (gr. II) on Aug. 24.

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New Jersey Racing Commission Approves 2008 Dates

Atlantic City Race Course
April 23, 24, 25, 30, May 1 & 2 6 Dates
Monmouth Park
May 9, 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31
June 1 through September 28 99 Dates
Dark: Mondays & Tuesdays
Meadowlands Racetrack
September 9, 16, 23, 30
October 1 through November 15
Dark: Sundays during in October
Sundays and Wednesdays during November
42 Dates
Total Thoroughbred Dates 147 Dates

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