06/14/2009 11:00PM

Barcola returns for a tag


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Classy veteran Barcola launches his comeback Wednesday against Power Game and Truth Rules, a pair of relative youngsters who love Monmouth Park, in a third-level optional $50,000 claiming race.

The mile-and-70-yard race attracted six horses, including Pampered Sir, who scratched out of the Skip Away Stakes here last Saturday to run instead in this spot. Barcola and Jane's Kid are the only runners in for the claiming tag.

A winner of $474,081, the 6-year-old Barcola makes his first start since February in the Stymie Handicap at Aqueduct, where he tired badly to finish sixth.

Speed is his game, so the strategy is clear from the rail with Eddie Castro aboard for trainer Mark Hennig.

Barcola has kept fast company throughout his career, including last season, when he set the pace in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs, passed only by Curlin and Einstein, who edged him out of the place spot by a nose.

"He's a one-dimensional horse," assistant trainer Rob Rader said. "He's not going to pass many horses. Sometimes when he gets to the lead, he just keeps on going. You just send him on his way."

That's usually a very effective way to run at Monmouth.

Power Game and Truth Rules, both 4, have impressive records here.

Power Game missed by a neck in a similar spot on May 22. It was his first defeat in four races on the Jersey Shore. The winner of Monmouth's off-the-turf Restoration Stakes last summer, Power Game will have leading rider Elvis Trujillo aboard for trainer Shug McGaughey.

Like Barcola and Power Game, Truth Rules is based in New York. Trained by Nick Zito, Truth Rules is a 3 for 3 on this track. He is winless in 11 tries elsewhere, including a sixth most recently in a third-level allowance race at Belmont Park.

In a pattern similar to Power Game, Truth Rules fashioned a three-race winning streak here last summer that culminated in a stakes victory in the Long Branch. He will reunite with Stewart Elliott for the first time since then.

Pampered Sir finished last year with a flourish, winning consecutive allowance races. Pablo Fragoso will be aboard for the horse's season debut.

Jane's Kid, a deep closer, rallied for fourth here in the slop on June 4, while Glamour Guy was seventh most recently in the Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park.