Park’s overnight stakes usually come up salty, but Sunday’s $100,000 Monmouth
Beach Stakes has come up unusually strong for the 2010 running.
The race attracted three graded stakes winners and one graded stakes-placed
runner among the nine fillies and mares entered to run one mile and 70 yards.
Heading the roster are Millennium Farm’s Luna Vega, winner of last year’s Grade
2 Molly Pitcher Stakes, and Larry and Cindy Jones’s Just Jenda, winner of the
Grade 3 Monmouth Oaks in 2009.
The field also includes Kevin Sleeter’s Talkin About Love, the 2007 Monmouth
Oaks winner, and Bryant H. Prentice 3rd’s Bon Jovi Girl, who was second in the
Grade 2 Cotillion at Philadelphia
Park last fall.
Vega, trained by Steve Asmussen, arrived at Monmouth Friday morning from New York, with Asmussen
assistant trainer Bill Wilson on hand to welcome her.
“I’ve been with her a lot the past two seasons,” Wilson said, “and I’ve been looking forward
to getting her again. She’s such a unique individual, and I like being around
Luna Vega, a 5-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, has a perfect record at the
track. She shipped in to win an allowance race here last June, and then
returned to capture the Molly Pitcher on Aug. 30.
best races have come over fast tracks, and her worst efforts over wet tracks.
She caught a wet surface at Oaklawn
Park last out when she
was fifth in the Bayakoa Stakes.
But the forecast is for fine weather this weekend, and most likely a fast track
on Sunday, much to Wilson’s
“We know she likes this track,” he said, “and we’re expecting a big effort from
Cindy Jones, who trains Just Jenda, is trying for a family Monmouth Beach
Stakes repeat with a Monmouth Oaks winner. Last year, her now-retired husband
Larry Jones saddled Maren’s Meadow to win the overnight stake a year after
winning the 2008 Oaks.
Just Jenda, a filly by Haskell winner Menifee, ran twice at Monmouth last year,
scoring smashing wins in the Serena’s Song Stakes and Monmouth Oaks.
“She just loves Monmouth
Park,” Cindy Jones said.
“We’re hoping to be three-for-three over the track.”
Last out, Just Jenda ran fourth in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn.
But she had an excuse * and then some. She ran into a filly named Zenyatta, and
managed to get within six lengths or so of the champion.
“That’s the best racehorse either of us has ever seen,” Jones said. “I would
have loved to run second to her, but the mile and an eighth is not my filly’s
cup of tea. She’s best at a mile, with a mile and a sixteenth the limit.”
Just Jenda has been turning in bullet works at Delaware Park
to get ready for this race, which just thrills Jones.
she bullet-works, she throws a really good race,” the trainer said. “We’re
looking forward to Sunday.”
Kevin Sleeter, the breeder-owner-trainer of Talkin About Love, got his mare
turned around the second half of 2009 after a slow start. The 6-year-old
daughter of Not For Love finished second in two stakes here in June and August,
and then won the Revidere in September. She went on to take the Maryland
Million Ladies Stakes on the turf at Laurel
later that month.
To get her ready for her first start since last November, Sleeter had Talkin
About Love drill an eye-opening half-mile in :35 2/5 on Wednesday. It was her
fastest breeze ever, and the best of 15 on the tab that morning.
“I wanted to put some speed into her, perk her up a little,” Sleeter said. “The
way she’s been running, she goes backward after the break, and then she has too
much to do. She needs to show a little more speed early.”