Bagwandeen and Sacco Prepare for Saturday's Fort Monmouth Stakes

Thursday, June 6, 2013

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Nastar Medallist is slated to run for trainer and owner Pernel Bagwandeen, who is hoping that his $5,000 investment this January continues to pay dividends in Saturday’s $60,000 Fort Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park. Nastar Medallist is coming off of a solid effort on the grass at Pimlico in her last outing, where she was beaten a length and a quarter in a $100,000 stakes event.

“She ran really well in her last three tries on grass,” said Bagwandeen, who has been training horses since 2007. “She can run on both but she prefers the turf.”

Since being claimed for $5,000 in January of this year, Nastar Meadallist boasts a pair of wins and a second, including a gate to wire win at Pimlico (April 28) two back. Nastar Medallist is scheduled to travel 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf on Saturday providing that the expected heavy rains Friday do not push the race onto the main track.   

“We’ll run her on or off,” the trainer said. “But we’re looking to catch the turf on Saturday.”

            One person who hopes that the contest is moved to the dirt is trainer Gregg Sacco, who goes into the race with main track only entry Ima Jersey Girl. The New Jersey-bred mare is slated to run her first race back at Monmouth since winning the mile and a sixteenth Jersey Girl Handicap last September.

            “She’s coming off a layoff but she’s doing well,” said Sacco. “She’s really versatile, she’s better long but I think she has a really good chance on the dirt in this race.”

            Sacco believes that the outside post will play to Ima Jersey Girl’s advantage Saturday.

 “It’ll help that she won’t have to worry about getting mud kicked up in her face,” Sacco said. “I think she’ll be able to sit right off the pace and settle in.”

            Pedro Cotto Jr. is set to ride Nastar Medallist while Chris Decarlo gets the call on Ima Jersey Girl in the Fort Monmouth Stakes, which goes as race 9 on an 11-race card.