Kevin Sleeter is as eager as anyone to see graded stakes winner Talkin About Love make her 5-year-old debut, but as the breeder-owner-trainer of the mare, he wants to make sure it’s the right spot. Sunday’s $60,000 Open Mind Handicap at six furlongs for New Jersey-breds looks like the right spot.
“I had her entered in the Red Cross Stakes (an open sprint on May 10),” Sleeter said, “but that race came up very tough. Also, that whole weekend, speed was dominating, and no horses were coming from off the pace. She doesn’t have any early speed, and she has to come from far out of it in a sprint.
Talkin About Love, a chestnut daughter of Not For Love who made her mark by becoming the first New Jersey-bred ever to win the Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in 2007, is coming off a disappointing season in which she won just once in nine starts, a far cry from her 3-year-old campaign when she took five of seven races.
Sleeter wants to see which Talkin About Love steps up to the plate this year. The mare has been working steadily toward her debut, turning in a bullet six furlongs in 1:13 1/5 on May 14, and a bullet half-mile in :47 flat on May 24. She’ll be reunited with jockey Stewart Elliott for Sunday’s race. Elliott was aboard in her last three wins.
Talkin About Love has not run since she was third in the Sleigh Ride Stakes at Philly Park on Dec. 23, and has not run at Monmouth since she was second in the Jersey Girl Handicap on Sept. 20.
The Open Mind has come up a very competitive event. The field of six includes Heckuva Good Time, who won last year’s edition of the Open Mind; the 3-year-old Love That Dance, who gets a break in the weights and has finished first in all three of her races against state-breds, and Open Skies, who looks to be the speed of this race.
MONMOUTH’S REDESIGNED WEBSITE SET TO LAUNCH THIS WEEK
Monmouth Park’s website (http://www.monmouthpark.com) has been completely redesigned for the 2009 season, and is set to launch on Monday, June 1.
The website now contains several new features, including a “My Racetrack” account, and a Monmouth Park blog written jointly by Brad Thomas and Brian Skirka.
Web users will have the opportunity to sign up free for their own personal “My Racetrack” account. Within “My Racetrack,” fans will be able to access free race replays, post discussion boards, comment on news stories, and upload photos of their day at the races.
The daily Monmouth blog by program handicapper Thomas and marketing department writer Skirka will cover a variety of racing subjects, including stakes analysis and behind-the-scenes information.
The site also includes an expanded biography section on jockeys, owners and trainers, complete with video and photos; extensive photo galleries featuring areas of the track rarely seen by the public, such as the jockeys’ room and stable area, and a direct tie to Monmouth Park’s web 2.0 marketing efforts on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
MONMOUTH STARTS FIVE-DAY RACING SCHEDULE ON WENDESDAY
Wednesday, June 3, marks the start of a five-day racing week at Monmouth, with live programs scheduled Wednesday through Sunday each week through August, with six days of racing slated from Sept. 2 through the Labor Day weekend. The track goes back to four days a week (Thursday through Sunday) from Sept. 10 until closing day, Sept. 27.
First post time every racing day is 12:50 p.m., with gates opening to the public at 11:30 a.m. The only exception will be Haskell Invitational Day on Sunday, Aug. 2, when first post is 12 noon, with gates opening at 10 a.m.