The first time that Call First showed up in the Monmouth Park entries this year, he ran with a $20,000 claiming tag. It was the classic Catch-22 scenario for trainer Patricia Farro and her husband, Mike, who is her assistant.
They wanted the beautifully bred 4-year-old son of AP Indy out of the Storm Cat mare Connie Belle, but they couldn’t have him.
“We got him that day and we didn’t even have to win a shake,” said Mike Farro. “With that breeding, we wouldn’t have been able to get him at all if he weren’t a gelding. He’s been doing great since he’s been in the barn and we think he’s a nice, solid, little horse.”
Running in the colors of MAT Stable for the first time in his next race, First Call was second in a $42,000 allowance test that was taken off the Monmouth turf. The Farros will saddle him again on Saturday, when he’ll go postward as the probable favorite in the featured $32,000 allowance/optional claiming race at 1 mile 70 yards on the main track.
“We’d like to run him back on the turf,” said Mike. “But he’s good either way. He runs on anything and he runs well.”
It seems the same can be said for most of those in the Farro barn this year, including 2012 Teddy Drone and Mr. Prospector Stakes winner Roayl Currier.
Through September 5, Patricia was ranked as the 50th leading trainer in North America with 73 wins, 43 seconds and 48 third place finishes from 391 starts. Moreover, the stable has cracked the $2 million in earnings barrier, with $2,006,952 to date.
It is the best year ever for Patricia Farro, who in 2004 became the first woman in track history to win the trainer’s title at The Meadowlands.
“We are having a good year, thank God,” said Mike. “We’re just grinding it out, here, there and everywhere we can.”
Another former claim with a solid chance on Saturday is Kid Sidney, a 3-year-old gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid who has made two starts, including a fourth place finish in the $60,000 Jersey Derby, for trainer Steve Hobby.
“He’ll run in blinkers for the first time and we expect that will definitely make a difference. We decided to run him in them because he was a little babyish in his races and not concentrating,” said William Hollick, the assistant to Hobby.
Tiz Miz Sue, who is a possible for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita on November 3, remains in Hobby’s barn at Monmouth and Hollick reported that the multiple graded stakes placed daughter of dual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiz Now is in fine form.
NAVARRO PLEASED WITH FIRST MEET AT MONMOUTH
Trainer Jorge Navarro shipped into Monmouth Park at the beginning of the meet with high expectations and a barn full of promise. Making the Jersey Shore his summer base was the right decision.
“I am very happy with the way the meet’s going,” said the 37-year-old Navarro, who winters at Tampa Bay Downs and raced at Monmouth Park this year for the first time. “Coming here was absolutely the best thing I did and I am 100% committed to coming back again next year.”
With live racing at Monmouth running through October 7, Navarro currently ranks ninth in the standings with 13 wins, 16 seconds and seven thirds from 62 starts. Not bad for a new shooter in the trainer ranks.
“My Tampa horses have done pretty well here,” said Navarro, who is a sharp-eyed horseman adept at the claiming game. “But I’ve learned that next year I have got to come back with better horses, and I’m looking to spending some money in the off-season to get them.”
With plenty of allowance and claiming races still left on the cards over the remaining five weeks, Navarro isn’t going anywhere yet.
“My horses and I are going to stay all the way to the end and more. Until they turn off the water and shut off the power and kick me out, we’re here,” he said with a big smile. “There are lots of opportunities in the coming month right here, and I hope to be able to take advantage of them.”
WEEKEND RACING IN SEPTEMBER
With the unofficial start of autumn, Monmouth shifts to live racing on Saturdays and Sundays through the month of September and the meet’s end on October 7. First post is 12:45 pm each day and gates open at 11:30 am. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Festival will be held on Saturday, September 15 and features the $75,000 Charles Hesse III Handicap and the $60,000 New Jersey Breeders Handicap for state-breds.