Sunday, June 03, 2012


Monmouth Park Barn Notes for Saturday, June 2, 2012


LITTLE STITCH SHOOTS FOR SECOND STRAIGHT STAKES WIN

The Who Did It and Run Stakes victress will try to go two-for-two in 2012 in New Jersey-bred stakes for fillies and mares when she takes on a field of seven in Sunday’s $60,000 Open Mind Handicap.

The homebred, who is trained by Joe Jennings, will go postward as the 121 top weight. Last out, she won five furlongs going gate-to-wire on the Meadowlands turf course. She adds a furlong and switches to the main track on Sunday, but will see some familiar rivals in the starting gate. Salad Girl, the 2011 champion 2-year-old state-bred filly, and Cee the Country and Ima Jersey Girl, both of whom are trained by Gregg Sacco, couldn’t best Little Stitch in the Who Did it and Run on May 4, but will try again in the Open Mind.


Little Stitch has won seven of 23 career starts, but she’s done some of her best running within the past year when she made five trips to the gate and won twice. She was second here in two restricted events- the $67,000 Spruce Fir Handicap on July 17 and the $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap on September 17- and next time out was beaten only a nose running against males in open company.

The Open Mind is named for the New Jersey-bred filly who won back-to-back Eclipse Awards as the champion 2-year-old filly and 3-year-old filly in 1988-89 and is a member of the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York. Bred by Due Process Stable and foaled in 1986, Open Mind won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as a two-year-old and the Triple Tiara (the Acorn, Mother Goose and Coaching Club American Oaks) in her sophomore campaign.

She will be in the first class inducted into the New Jersey-bred Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Monmouth on September 15. Regret, who is one of only three fillies to win the Kentucky Derby, Cavalcade and Henry of Navarre are also in the national Hall of Fame and round out the class.


PRESIOUS PASSION STILL POINTED TO MONMOUTH STAKES

Even though the distance of the Manhattan Handicap better suits Presious Passion, he will bypass the Grade 1 $500,000 turf race at one-mile-and-a-quarter at Belmont on June 9 in favor of the Grade 2 $200,000 Monmouth Stakes, which is a furlong shorter, on June 10.

“We’d rather stay right here and support the program,” said Mary Hartmann, who trains him for owner Patricia Generazio. “He likes it better a little longer still and the Monmouth is a little short for him, but he’s getting closer to his ideal distance of a mile and a half.”

Now nine-years-old, Presious Passion still enjoys being a racehorse and has been training well since spending last summer resting and relaxing at Wellsprings Farm in nearby Colts Neck, N.J.

“He was very happy there and it was great because I could visit him all of the time after getting done at the track,” Hartmann said. “He had a window in his stall and would start nickering every time he saw my car coming up the driveway. Now he loves being back at the track and in training.”

In 2008 and 2009, Presious Passion won the Grade 1 $750,000 United Nations Stakes here at one-mile-and-three-eighths and was caught in the stretch to finish second in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Turf at his preferred distance of one-mile-and-a-half in 2009.


MONMOUTH/WOODBINE HANDICAPPING CONTEST ON SUNDAY

The $200 Monmouth/Woodbine Handicapping Contest will be held this Sunday, with the top two finishers earning a seat in the 2013 DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.

The $200 fee includes $100 for the entry and a $100 bankroll. The format calls for win, place and show wagers only on Monmouth Park and Woodbine races. While the top two qualify for Vegas, cash prizes will be awarded to the top 10 finishers.

Also on Sunday, the track hosts the weekly Family Fun Day with free pony rides, children’s entertainment and live music.


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