08/18/2009 11:00PM

Actin Good looks to upset Coal Play


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Although Coal Play is clearly the horse to beat in the Grade 3, $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth, trainer Bobby Dibona isn't backing down with Actin Good.

Earlier in the meet, Coal Play captured the Grade 3 Salvator Mile, a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race that assures him a spot in the BC Dirt Mile. A 4-year-old trained by Nick Zito, Coal Play will be ridden again by Joe Bravo in the seven-horse Iselin.

Coal Play, 3-1-1 in 5 starts at Monmouth, had one of his finest moments here last season in the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. It took a huge effort by Big Brown to reel in the pacesetting Coal Play in the $1 million race.

Dibona feels Actin Good, the game winner of the Majestic Light Stakes on this year's Haskell Day undercard, has a chance to run down Coal Play.

Actin Good comes into the Iselin sharp, having tuned up with a four-furlong bullet work Sunday in 47 seconds, fastest of 89 at the distance.

"Actin Good was tenacious in that last win, and this horse is ready to go," Dibona said. "I think it will set up well for us. Coal Play is going to the front. That's no secret. We'll track him and try to take a run at him and wear him down in the lane."

Dibona is hoping distance is the equalizer. Coal Play is winless in his two tries beyond 1 1/16 miles. Actin Good captured the Pegasus Stakes at this distance in the slop here in 2007.

"I don't know how crazy Coal Play is about going a mile and an eighth," Dibona said. "I'm going to test him at some point."

Channing Hill replaces Kent Desormeaux aboard Actin Good.

Completing the Iselin field are Chirac, Pampered Sir, Researcher, Solar Flare, and You and I Forever.

Themanmythnlegend set for stakes debut

It has already been a good year for Lloyd Kromann and his family-owned and -operated stable at Monmouth.

They have won three races so far, banking $118,760 with every dollar going right to their bottom line. Wife Geraldine is the owner, son Charles is the breeder, and Lloyd does everything else as the trainer, groom and hotwalker for their three homebreds.

A good year could get even better Sunday when they send out Themanmythnlegend in the $100,000 Charles Heese III Handicap, the richest race on a card devoted exclusively to New Jersey-breds.

The 4-year-old gelding has won twice in seven races at the meet, knocking off his first- and second-level statebred allowance conditions.

This will be Themanmythnlegend's first stakes appearance.

"He's been a good little horse for us, so we thought we'd give him a chance," Kromann said. "We have to take the next step."

As usual, Shannon Uske will ride.

* Paco Lopez was suspended five New Jersey racing days starting Thursday for careless riding on Fortune Play in the third race Aug. 12.

* Danny Mellul is now booking mounts for Pablo Morales.

* Jennifer Aniston was a visitor Tuesday morning, a dark day at the track, as Monmouth served as the backdrop for scenes from "Bounty Hunter," a comedy scheduled for 2010 release. Aniston and Gerard Butler, along with 600 extras, went through their paces while simulated races took place in the background.

* The Shore Chef Crab Cake Cook-Off expands to two days this year: Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Eleven local restaurants will display their crab-cake prowess, along with a range of other seafood offerings. Food items start at $5.