OCEANPORT, N.J. * Old rivals Joey P. and Who’s the Cowboy, who were second and third behind a runaway train named Rockerfeller in the Teddy Drone Stakes last out, top Monday’s $75,000 Icecapade Stakes * Run Sully Run, hard to handle in two-turn races, shortens up for trainer Cam Gambolati in the $60,000 Gilded Time Stakes on Monday’s Labor Day program.
The top Labor Day stakes offering Monday at Monmouth will bring out some old favorites when Joey P. and Who’s the Cowboy contest the $75,000 Icecapade Stakes at six furlongs.
“Joey ran a great race,” said trainer Ben Perkins Jr., “but the winner ran an unbelievable race. Why that race isn’t graded, I don’t know.
“Joey ran one of his best Beyers ever, and Rockerfeller ran one of the best of the year. And it’s like that every year in that race.”
For the record, Rockerfeller recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 113 in the Teddy Drone, while Joey P., who finished nearly four lengths back, had a 103. It was his best Beyer since he ran a 104 in winning the Longfellow Stakes in 2006.
Joey P., a 6-year-old son of Close Up bred and owned by John Petrini, now has two wins and four seconds in six starts this year. He took the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds in May, and then shipped to West Virginia in June to win the Charles Town Dash Handicap.
But he’s developed a bad case of seconditis, something Perkins hopes will be cured in the Icecapade.
“Last fall, I pointed out to somebody that Joey had never been second in his life. He’d been either first, third or out of the money. As soon as I said that, all he did was run second.”
Joey P. started that runner-up streak with a second in the Monmouth University Stakes here on Oct. 25. Then he was second in both the Fall Highweight and Gravesend handicaps at Aqueduct, and opened his 2008 campaign with a second in the Decathlon Stakes here on May 10.
“He’s doing great,” Perkins said. “He’s been working really well, but he always works well. He came out of that race just fine.”
With regular pilot Joe Bravo out of town Monday, Joey P. will have a new rider for the Icecapade in Eddie Castro.
Who’s the Cowboy, a 6-year-old son of Intensity who has won 12 of 35 lifetime starts for the Sleeter family, actually holds the edge over Joey P. in both the Teddy Drone and Icecapade stakes.
The Cowboy won the 2006 running of the Teddy Drone, with Joey P. fourth, and then next out captured the Icecapade as Joey P. ran seventh. Last year, a rare winless season for the Cowboy, the Sleeter runner finished third in the Teddy Drone when Joey P. was fourth.
Who’s the Cowboy endured a long losing streak that stretched from October of 2006 through June of 2008. It wasn’t until the Colts Neck Handicap here on July 6 that the Cowboy of old surfaced, as he scored with a decisive late rally.
He prepped for the Icecapade with a sparking breeze last Sunday, going in a bullet :35 flat with jockey Stewart Elliott aboard.
“He does that all the time,” said owner Gerry Sleeter. “He doesn’t feel like he’s moving that fast.”
Who’s the Cowboy will use the Icecapade by way of a prep for the $60,000 Lincroft Handicap on New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival Day, Sept. 20.
RUN SULLY RUN SHORTENS UP TO INCREASE HIS CHANCES
Run Sully Run, a 3-year-old son of Cherokee Run, has performed well in several major events at a mile and beyond, but he has yet to win a stakes for owners Ol Memorial Stable & C.E. Glasscock.
To remedy the situation, trainer Cam Gambolati will turn back the distance by running the colt in Monday’s $60,000 Gilded Time Stakes at five and a half furlongs on the turf.
“I’m tired of fighting him,” Gambolati said. “And I’m tired of the rider having to fight him going two turns. He just won’t relax at a route. He just fights and fights the whole way.
“I think five and a half furlongs will hit him in the head. I’m hoping he can be a closing sprinter. The jockey can let him go on his own from the gate. He’ll sit in the middle of the pack, and make that one big run at the end.”
His latest outing was a prime example of Gambolati’s frustration. In the mile and a sixteenth Jersey Derby here on Aug. 3, Run Sully Run battled jockey Joe Bravo all the way, and had nothing left when the real running started in the stretch.
“He’s just so aggressive,” Gambolati said, “he just wants to do what he wants, which is go, go, go. The rider can’t get him to relax because he’ll fight the whole way. He trains like that, too.”
Run Sully Run, who was third in the Lamplighter Stakes here in May and last year finished third in both the Tyro and Continental Mile, gets a new rider in Carlos H. Marquez Jr. for the Gilded Time.
He goes from the rail Monday, and will be taking on a fast group of turf sprint specialists, including Chitoz, who won the Anderson Fowler here in June, and Dicey D J, who was second in that race and third last out in the Crank It Up Stakes.
But Gambolati has made up his mind, and for one day, at least, Run Sully Run is a sprinter.
“Some horses are just one-turn horses and that’s it,” the trainer said. “I’m thinking he’s one of them.”