News & Barn notes

2-Year-Old Colts And Geldings Kick Off Sunday’s 11-Race Card

June 09, 2018

Atomic Rain Long Branch

Eight days after 2-year-old fillies contested the first baby race of the season at Monmouth Park the boys get their chance during Sunday’s 11-race live program.

Six 2-year-old colts and geldings – two apiece trained by Kelly Breen and Chuck Spina – are scheduled to make their career debuts in the 4½-furlong Maiden Special Weight race that kicks off the card.

Breen has entered the aptly-named Biletnikoff, out of the mare Raiders Fan, and Babbo Babbo Babbo. Spina will send out My Only Sunshine, a full brother to 2017 Colleen Stakes winner and multiple stakes winner Bronx Beauty, and Tenzip Funzi.

The Jason Servis-trained Sports Betting, owned by Dennis Drazin, is also in the field.

“Both of these horses are the most forwardly advanced out of the gate of the 2-year-olds I have right now and they’re both precocious enough to race,” said Breen, second in the Monmouth Park trainer standings entering the weekend with 11 winners. “Babbo Babbo Babbo is a little quicker out of the gate but you never know until they get out there and race. Biletnikoff is a Jersey-bred and whether he needs a race or not I don’t know. The main goal for him is to run in Jersey-bred races.

“But he’s ready to go now so we’re going to run him in open company. He seems to be a nice horse.”

Spina said both of his horses “are training pretty well.”

“Tenzip Funzi worked 48.2 out of the gate. He acts like a nice horse,” said Spina. “My Only Sunshine is really coming around. But a lot of them show ability in the morning. They have to do it on the track. That’s the only way you find out.”

Spina, who has seven 2-year-olds, said the baby races always bring out the optimism in trainers, even the most hardened veterans.

“This is what it’s all about, to maybe get a nice one,” he said. “With 2-year-olds you can dream a little.”

Complementing Sunday’s live card is the 48th Annual New Jersey Irish Festival, an autograph session with Hall of Fame rider Julie Krone and Family Fun Day.

Krone, who topped the Monmouth Park jockey standings from 1987-99, will sign autographs from 1:30 to 3:30 near the Jockey’s Room. Family Fun Day offers free face paining, pony rides, clowns and a bounce house for children 12 and under.

To accommodate the day-long festivities involved with the Irish Festival and a traditional Irish Mass that starts at 11 a.m. on the paddock side of the grandstand on the second floor, gates will open at 10 a.m.

First race post is 12:50 p.m.