THE HUNK LOOKS GOOD FOR SATURDAY STAKES

In 13 career efforts The Hunk has only run on the grass and at the distance once, but his trainer is hoping that that the 5-year-old horse’s sire will help get him to the finish line first in Saturday’s $60,000 My Frenchman Stakes.

“He’s by Speightstown and he gets some good turf sprinters,” said Ben Perkins, Jr., who saddled The Hunk when he won the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds on the Monmouth Park main strip two races back.

Speightstown was the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and the champion Sprinter that same year. As for past Breeders’ Cup winners, The Hunk and his rivals will find themselves lining up in the gate for the 5 ½ furlong turf race with one. Chamberlain Bridge, who captured the 2010 Turf Sprint and then failed to defend his title on Breeders’ Cup day last year, will make his second start of 2012 in the overnight stakes.

The Hunk has been working well of late on the Monmouth turf course.

“We also worked him at Palm Meadows on the turf a couple of times last winter with plans to run him down there (at Gulfstream Park) but then had to give him some time off,” Perkins said of the New Farm homebred. “If you look at the chart from that race he had on the turf (when he finished fourth in a 5 furlong dash on the grass at Gulfstream in February 2011) he jumped a shadow at the three-eighths pole.”

Since then, The Hunk has been running at six furlongs and Perkins thinks that shortening up a little will be to his benefit. Nevertheless, he didn’t get an ideal post position when he drew the rail.

“I don’t love the draw,” he said. “When you come out of the one-hole, there is a sharp bend (in the course) so you have to be forwardly placed. Hopefully, he can keep his position and not be shuffled back.”

Just Chillin Boss, a winner of his last two races which were both at 5 ½ furlongs on the Monmouth turf, will break next to The Hunk as he steps up from first level allowance race conditions. He’s got early speed but there’s a lot of pace in the race.

“This is a tough race, a very tough race,” said Ramon Moya, who trains the 4-year-old son of Sweetsouthernsaint for Mid-Atlantic Tbred Inverstments. “Let’s hope he gives us a big effort and runs big. He needs to against this field. He likes the turf here. In his last race, he went the half-mile in forty-three. We hope he can do better than that.”

Ju Jitsu Jax, the 2011 winner of the My Frenchman, Hewitts, Christiesborntorun, Triple E, Southern Region, and Mississippi Man complete the field.


TWILIGHT COCKTAIL PARTY TO BENEFIT CHARITY FUND

The First Annual Twilight Cocktail Party, which coincides with twilight racing, will be held in the Parterre Lounge at the track on Thursday, August 9th. Sponsored by the Monmouth Park Charity Fund, proceeds from the event will benefit the charities of Monmouth County.

The event will honor Dennis Drazin, advisor to the Thoroughbred horsemen and Darby Development LLC, and John Forbes, the president of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association, who has won more training titles than any other conditioner in New Jersey.

The cocktail party features a silent auction and individual tickets are available for $125. Sponsorship levels are also available. For more information, contact the Monmouth Park Charity Office at 732-571-5325.


HALL OF FAMER RON TURCOTTE AUTOGRAPH SESSION SUNDAY

Ron Turcotte and “Big Red” are inseparable in racing history, and on Sunday the Hall of Fame rider will be at Monmouth Park for a Secretariat signing to benefit racing charities.

Turcotte, who was in the irons when Secretariat captured the 1973 Triple Crown and set records in all three races on the way to back-to-back Horse of the Year honors, was paralyzed in a racing accident in 1978. Since then, he has been a tireless advocate and fundraiser for the disabled and visits race tracks to raise awareness and money for charities which include the Jockey Guild’s Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund (PDJF).

Turcotte, North America’s leading stakes-winning rider in 1972-73, will be at the Secretariat tent signing autographs and selling Secretariat memorabilia from 11:30 a.m. to the last race. All proceeds will be donated to charity.