Hermosillo, the reigning New Jersey-bred Horse of the Year and champion Handicap Horse, returns to square off against state-bred company on Saturday when he defends his title in the $75,000 Charles Hesse III Handicap. The stakes is the featured race of 10 to be run as part of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival at Monmouth Park.

Hermosillo may share his name with the capital of the Sonora region of Mexico, but he is a true son of the Garden State. Bred by Monmouth based trainer Eddie Broome and owned by Kenwood racing LLC, the 8-year-old gelding has made 39 of his 65 starts at Monmouth and eight of his 11 wins were on this track. During his 2011 fall campaign, he racked up three consecutive victories here and the highlight was the Hesse.

While he’s only made three starts in 2012, all at Monmouth, he ran a very game second against open company on a sloppy track last time out on August 10.

“He hasn’t run much this year and he takes his time between races now. He has his little things that catch up with him and we have to back off, but I was able to train him up to this race,” said trainer Stephen DiMauro. “As an eight-year-old, you’re not sure if he’s lost a step or not. This race will show us, I guess. He tries hard every time and hopefully, he’ll run his best race.”

The 1 1/16 mile handicap on the main track is named in honor of the late Charles Hesse III, who owned and operated Char-Mari Stable with his wife, Marianne. Mr. Hesse’s father built the original Monmouth Park racing strip in 1946.

Hermosillo has been assigned top weight of 120 pounds in the field of 11 and he’ll get a rematch with Goombada Guska, who finished second last year in the Hesse while racing for Turtle Bird Stable and trainer Steve Asmussen. In Goombada Guska’s last race he was claimed for $15,000 by Patricia Farro for Juve Stab.

“He’s training good. We got a nice two-minute lick into him the other day,” said Mike Farro, the assistant to his wife. “We’re going to put the blinkers back on him for this race because he wore them when he was racing good before. He’s ready to go.”

Benny or Local will also contest the Hesse but it would be folly to assume that the principals of Jersey Shore Racing Stable named their homebred for their trainer Ben Perkins, Jr.

“Local day-trippers to the Jersey Shore are called ‘Bennys’”, said Perkins while explaining some local culture. “The name comes from the New Jersey Transit line, where the baggage handlers on the train would slap a sticker on the luggage that read BENNY and they’d check off the destination. Benny stands for Bayonne-Elizabeth-Newark-New York. So when you were on the train, you were going there or coming here.”

The New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival will be renewed for the 10th time and the day will celebrate the best of the state-bred racing program. The special events include an appearance by the Perkins-trained Joey P., one of the most popular horses to race at Monmouth Park and the earner of more than $1 million before his retirement. Three stakes races on the 10-race card for New Jersey-breds only and the induction of the inaugural class into the New Jersey-bred Hall of Fame are part of the day.


Sweet Cali Cat has been awfully kind to the Kromann family and their blue hen

has the chance to rack up even more accolades when two of her daughters take on seven other fillies and mares in the $60,000 Jersey Girl Handicap on Saturday.

Hotnslick, a three-time state-bred winner during the current Monmouth meet, and Y to Kat, who beat open company on this track in July, will run as an entry in the 1 1/16 mile contest. The race is one of the 10 restricted to New Jersey-breds for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival being celebrated at Monmouth on Saturday, and Sweet Cali Cat’s son Thenewmanintown will run in a maiden special for juveniles earlier on the card.

“She’s a good old mare; she just keeps producing horses who are competitive at this level,” said Lloyd Kromann, who trains the stock that is owned by his wife, Geraldine, and bred by their son, Charles. “We’ve been breeding and racing in New Jersey for 30 years.”

Geraldine Kromann is a retired educator who was formerly the principal at the Ranney School and Chesterbrook Academy before the merger of those two private schools. She is now the secretary of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association of New Jersey and an active voice for the organization.

“We’re really very excited about New Jersey-bred day,” she said

When Hotnslick made every pole a winning one her last time out here on August 30, the earnings for Sweet Cali Cat’s progeny surpassed $1 million.


What cold be better than free money? That would be free money to bet with and possibly multiply at Monmouth Park on Saturday. As part of the New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival, everyone coming to the track may enter a drawing and two lucky winners will receive a $500 wagering voucher before each of the 10 races on the card for a total of $10,000 in free wagers.