06/16/2003 11:00PM

Barns empty as fillies get to run on turf


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Fillies and mares get a rare chance to use the Monmouth turf course in Thursday's feature, a $39,000 allowance race at 1 1/16 miles.

The race drew 12 entrants, including three also-eligibles.

Turf races have been scarce due to exceptionally wet weather here. Many runners stayed in the barn over the first three weeks of the meet. As a result, only two fillies in the field - Sheza Barn Burner and Secretively - have run this meet. Both scored easy wins on wet tracks.

Sheza Barn Burner rallied five wide to win going away in the mud on June 5. She has also shown turf ability, winning her maiden on the grass last September at Arlington.

Secretively drew off by 6 3/4 lengths in the slop on June 4. This will be her second attempt on grass.

Making their Monmouth meet debuts in the race are several fillies who have demonstrated a strong preference for grass.

The late-developing Shawnee Sunrise, a 5-year-old mare, responded favorably to the shift to grass for her two starts this year. She got up to win an allowance race at Gulfstream Park and was moved up to third via a disqualification at Keeneland.

She shows a steady string of workouts at Monmouth for trainers Phil and Vickie Oliver in preparation for this opportunity.

Baze rides first Monmouth winner

Ten-pound apprentice jockey Michael Baze won his first Monmouth race Sunday, in his 23rd mount of the meet, aboard Internet Boy. Baze gave Internet Boy a very professional rail-skimming ride to secure the victory.

"It feels great," Baze said. "I'm glad I finally got one."

The 16-year-old is the nephew of Hall of Famer Russell Baze and the cousin of Tyler Baze.

Michael Baze won with 3 of 30 mounts at Hollywood Park before heading east to Monmouth.

MTV reality show in the house

Romance might have blossomed at Monmouth over the weekend, courtesy of MTV. The music network taped segments at the track for a new reality program, "Morning After."

Andrea Scaramelli, a student at Catholic University, and Henry Tibensky, a recent Yale graduate, met for the first time at Monmouth on Saturday afternoon. The couple had lunch and watched several races from the clubhouse box-seat area.

They later headed to an area bar for dinner, with camera crews capturing every moment.

The segment will air during the program's debut week of July 14. The couple will compete for cash prizes based on how accurately they gauge the other's reactions to situations that came up during their date.

* Chuck Lopez suffered a bloody nose when dumped by Lady Navigator at the start of Sunday's fourth race. He returned to ride the rest of the card.