The feature on Monmouth
Park’s opening day
program Saturday is the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes, first of 57 stakes races to
be run during the 65-day meeting that runs through Oct. 7.
During the meet, Monmouth will offer 17 graded stakes
races, topped by the $1 million Haskell Invitational (G1) to be run on July 29.
The first graded stakes of the meet is the $100,000 Violet (G3), a turf event
to be renewed on May 28.
The Decathlon, a six-furlong race for older horses, has
become a traditional opening day event. The field this year includes nine
runners, including six who have won at Monmouth. And one of the nine horses
entered is hoping to improve just one position from last year.
GSP Stable’s Wildcat Brief, a 6-year-old son of Forest
Wildcat, was second, beaten a little more than a length, in the 2011 renewal of
the Decathlon. As it was last year, the race will be Wildcat Brief’s first
outing of the year.
“We gave him a break over the winter,” trainer Ben
Perkins Jr. said. “Same as we did last year. He trains up to his first start,
and he’ll be ready. He’s been working well since he got here.”
Wildcat Brief, owned by a group that includes Ben Perkins
Sr., is a stakes winner at Monmouth, scoring in the 2010 running of the
Icecapade. That year as a 4-year-old he ran third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh
Stakes, a standout performance on his record.
The Kentucky-bred is an entire horse, and may have a stud
career after his running days are over, Perkins said.
“Forest Wildcat is gaining a reputation as a sire of
sires,” the trainer said. “And since Wildcat Brief is Grade 1-placed, there is
some interest in him as a stud.”