Hail, hail, the gang’s all
here, so it must be time for the John J. Reilly Handicap again.
The $65,000 Reilly for New
Jersey-breds at six furlongs is one of the highlights of Saturday’s 12-race
card, and drew all the usual suspects, namely:
Joey P. – The
9-year-old will be competing in his fifth Reilly ‘Cap, and looking for his
fourth win in the race.
Who’s the Cowboy
– Another 9-year-old, the Cowboy is starting in his sixth Reilly, but still
looking for his first win.
Unwritten and Hermosillo, both 7, will
be going in their third Reilly, with the former seeking a repeat after beating
Joey P. last year.
Joey P., bred and owned by
John Petrini, won his first Reilly on May 27 of 2006, skipped the 2007 running,
and then won the 2008 and 2009 runnings. Last year he chased Unwritten around
the track and finished second.
A remarkable horse in many
ways, Joey P. has overcome some health issues (including a near-fatal colic
attack) to compile a career record of 18-9-1 in 44 starts, with earnings of
$1,063,667. He has at least one win in every one of his eight seasons of
racing, including an allowance score at Gulfstream to begin 2011.
“He’s a remarkable horse,”
said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. “He’s as sound as ever, knock on wood, and he
comes to hand very quickly when we start training him.
“There are some changes in
him as he gets older,” the trainer said, “and he appreciates time off now. But
he’s everything you could want in a racehorse.”
Joey P. goes from Post 10 in
the field of 11 Saturday, with Joe Bravo back aboard. Bravo, Monmouth’s leading
rider through the first two weeks of the meet, has ridden Joey P. 28 times, and
they have partnered for 13 wins.
Who’s the Cowboy has not
missed a Reilly since he finished fourth behind Joey P. in 2006. He came
closest to winning in 2007, when he finished a neck behind Hey Chub while
giving that rival seven pounds. The son of Intensity was second behind Joey P.
in 2008, fourth behind that rival in 2009, and last year ran seventh.
The Cowboy, bred and raced by
the Sleeter family, was dropped into a $25,000 selling race last August 8 here,
and was claimed by Gary Contessa. In October, he was claimed out of a winning
race for $16,000 by his current owner, Evan Gewirtz’s Island Wind Racing.
Who’s the Cowboy won twice on
the Aqueduct inner track over the winter, finished fourth in a race at Belmont on May 6, and
returned to Monmouth on May 8, where he’s now trained by Peter Walder.
“It’s a little quick back,
but the owner wanted to run him in the Reilly,” Walder said. “He’s settled
nicely in the barn, and he looks like a solid, tough horse. It would be great
if we could get him over the $1 million mark in earnings in this race.”
For the record, Who’s the
Cowboy has a 17-10-12 record in 62 career starts and earnings of $981,422. He’s
won 12 times at Monmouth. Elvis Trujillo rides for the first time Saturday.