Two talented and consistent
fillies head the field of eight distaffers entered to contest Sunday’s $75,000
Monmouth Beach Stakes at one mile and 70 yards, and there’s not a lot to
Successful Song, bred and
owned by Live Oak Plantation, has been second in both her starts this year,
most recently in the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
She’s compiled a 4-3-1 record in 13 lifetime starts for trainer Eddie Plesa
Jr., and her wins include the Judy’s Red Shoes Stakes at Calder.
Sweet N Sour Nina, a
4-year-old daughter of Sweetsouthernsaint, has a win and two seconds in three Florida starts this
season for trainer Peter Walder, and has been worse than third just once in a
career of 17 starts with a 7-7-2 mark.
Both fillies will be making
their Monmouth debut in Sunday’s stakes event, and both show one moderate work
over the track here, but a fast work in Florida
before shipping north.
“She looks like she
appreciates being at Monmouth
Park,” Plesa said of
Successful Song, a 4-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal. “We gave her a
work over the track (five furlongs in 1:03 4/5 on May 3) and she’s right on
In her most recent start on
April 2, Successful Song was 25-1, but ran a big race to finish second, eight
lengths behind 9-10 favorite Awesome Maria.
“We were second best that
day,” Plesa said of his filly, “but she really ran a good race.”
Edgar Prado, who was aboard
in both Gulfstream starts, will be in from New York to take the mount again Sunday.
Sweet N Sour Nina, owned by
the partnership of John Buckley Jr., Ralph Durante and John Penn, has been a
gem of consistency throughout her career. Her owners claimed the filly for
$50,000 at Keeneland last October, and Walder took over her training this
winter in Florida.
“The owners claimed the
filly, and they knew I was going to Florida,
so they asked if I wanted to train her,” Walder said. “I jumped at that. But
when you get a horse who’s never been out of the (purse) money, the pressure’s
“But she’s been great to work
with. She loves Gulfstream, but I don’t think she needs her track to do her
best. She kept good company in those Florida
races, and she’s headed in the right direction.”
The filly worked a half-mile
here in :49 flat on Wednesday to get a look at the track, but before that
turned in a sharp half-mile at Gulfstream in :48 flat on April 23.
This is the first time Walder
has stabled at Monmouth since 2006, and he’s here in force, with 36 horses in
“It’s nice to be back at
Monmouth,” he said, “especially with some good horses.”
CHUCK LOPEZ JUST 10 AWAY FROM 4,000
Chuck C. Lopez, who has been
a fixture at Monmouth
Park since he started
riding 32 years ago, is just 10 away from 4,000 career wins.
The 50-year-old Lopez, who
was the top apprentice at Monmouth in 1979 and won the overall riding title at
the Meadowlands that fall, had 3,990 winners from 26,953 mounts going into Friday’s
action. He has been riding at the New York
tracks in recent days, and will continue to ride at Belmont on the days Monmouth is dark.
Lopez, who won the riding
title at Monmouth in 1998 with 91 winners, is scheduled to have nine mounts on
Saturday’s opening day card here, and has five rides on the Sunday program.
JOEY P., LOVE THAT DANCE TURN IN SHARP
WORKS FOR PERKINS
Joey P. the 9-year-old phenom
who has become one of the best New Jersey-bred runners of all time, drilled
five furlongs in a zippy :59 3/5 Friday morning – best work of the day at the
distance -- as he prepares for his 2011 debut, the $65,000 John J. Reilly
Handicap on Saturday, May 28. Jockey Joe Bravo was aboard.
Trainer Ben Perkins Jr.
stands in awe of Joey P., who has won 18 races (13 at Monmouth) and $1,063,667
during his career. And that despite emergency surgery for what could have been
life-ending colic in 2009.
“He’s amazing,” Perkins said.
“He’s won at least one race for eight straight years now, which is remarkable.
He’s like this really great senior citizen now. He keeps himself trim, he eats
right, he takes care of himself.
“You don’t even realize how
fast he’s working because he has this long, fluid stride,” Perkins said.
Love That Dance, like Joey P.
bred and owned by John Petrini, turned in the second best drill of the morning,
getting five furlongs in 1:00 4/5. The 5-year-old mare by Not for Love will
make her 2011 debut in the $75,000 Red Cross Stakes here on Sunday, May 29.