Barn Notes

Successful Song Seeking Second Stakes Win of the Meet

Posted Sunday, Sep 2, 2012

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When she last raced at Monmouth Park, she was sent off at odds just shy of 20-1. There is little doubt that her backers will not get anywhere close to that generous price when Successful Song breaks out of the gate in Monday’s Lady’s Secret Stakes.

            The 5-year-old daughter of Successful Appeal out of the Sultry Song mare Song for Annie finished a very solid second last time in the Grade 2 $200,000 Molly Pitcher Stakes and now she drops down in class to face easier company with a $75,000 purse at stakes.

            “She’s a professional who tries hard every time she runs and she’s doing really good right now,” said Eddie Plesa, Jr., who trains the Live Oak Plantation homebred.

            Successful Song went into the Molly Pitcher as the winner of the $75,000 Lighthouse Stakes here on June 30 and in her only other start at Monmouth this season, she ran a huge race coming off a five-month layoff to just miss in the $75,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes. She’s only one of many horses who have vaulted Plesa into second place in the trainer’s standings with five weeks left in the live racing season.

            “It’s been a very successful meet at Monmouth for us this year,” said Plesa, who saddled Say a Novena when she won the $60,000 Miss Woodford Stakes here on Saturday. “Everything has come together very well for us.”

            Going into Sunday’s card, Plesa had 20 winners from 88 starters plus 22 seconds and eight thirds. He understands that defending leading trainer Jane Cibelli has the 2012 title all but wrapped up.

            “Jane does an outstanding job,” he said. “She has a lot more horses than I do. I won’t take anything away from her but we’re batting almost 25%, which is a great accomplishment.”

            Cibelli, the first woman to achieve leading trainer honors in Monmouth’s long history, has 25 winners, 24 seconds, and 10 third place finishes from 119 starts.

            “This year’s title is not there yet. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” said Cibelli. “But it would be nice, wouldn’t it? Last year I got really lucky. A lot of races came off the turf and I had horses that could go either way. I also had some very good claims last year. This year has been harder. I’ve had better horses in the barn and won more money, but I also had horses who have had some awful injuries and some obscure injuries.”

            Plesa, who is the son of former jockey and trainer Eddie Plesa, Sr. and his former assistant, has won leading trainer honors at Calder Race Course five times and maintains a year round division in South Florida, but this would be his best Monmouth finish.

            “It might be with me that it took me a couple of years to acclimate to what I need here, how many 2-year-olds I needed to bring up here and what else I needed to get to where we are,” said Plesa, who is assisted by Ramon Huerta at Monmouth. “It’s a good effort from everybody who works for me and a lot of them have been with me for a good number of years.”

            Success breeds success and Plesa will definitely be back in 2013 with a barn full of talented runners.

            “I’m already looking forward to next year,” he said. “I think this is the kind of year Monmouth Park is going to build on. I see very good things ahead at Monmouth and I’m just happy to be a part of it. I am very, very pleased with the way things are going.”

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