08/07/2001 11:00PM

Beitia's round-the-world tour stops in New Jersey


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Monmouth newcomer Alex Beitia has a world of riding experience.

Beitia, 31, a native of Panama, started his career in the United States in 1989, and after riding in New York, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, relocated to Hong Kong. Beitia rode in Hong Kong for five years, but returned to the U.S. this week to begin riding at Monmouth. Danny Mellul, who had Joe Bravo's book before he was injured earlier in the meet, will be Beitia's agent.

Beitia came back to the U.S. on vacation with his wife, whom Mellul said is the sister of jockey Jose Santos. Santos contacted Mellul and told him Beitia might be interested in riding here for a few months. Beitia plans to ride at the Meadowlands after the Monmouth meet. Depending on how he rides here, Beitia will have to decide whether to renew his contract in Hong Kong.

"There are no claiming races there, only class races," said Beitia. "There is a lot of pressure because you are only riding good horses and you have to perform well."

Beitia will not ride a lot of races here, but he will be on quality mounts, according to Mellul. Beitia is hoping to build a good foundation the final month of the meet here heading into the Meadowlands.

"I'll try to fit in here," said Beitia. "I just want to work hard and get ready for the Meadowlands."

First Lieutenant works

First Lieutenant, one of the top handicap horses on the grounds, worked six furlongs in 1:14.20 Wednesday. First Lieutenant started five lengths behind a stablemate, and they finished the workout heads apart.

"This is the best he's ever done," said trainer Phil Oliver. "It seems like he is a little more professional every time he is on the track."

First Lieutenant, a 4-year-old, has won both his starts at the meet, both allowance races, the most recent a money allowance on July 14. Oliver said his next start would be in either the Saratoga Breeders' Cup Aug. 19 or the Iselin Handicap here Aug. 26. First Lieutenant will probably breeze here Tuesday, and a decision on his next start will be made soon after that.

"It all depends on who is running in each race and what the weight assignments are," said Oliver.

Strong comeback for Delaware Township

Making his first start since April 28, Delaware Township put in a strong performance in the Grade 2 A.G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga Sunday, running second by 1 1/2 lengths to wire-to-wire winner Five Star Day.

"He kind of got squeezed back at the start and was shuffled to the back," said trainer Ben Perkins Jr. "Jerry [Bailey] sat on him and made his move when he got to the outside. It hurt us that the winner was alone on the lead."

Perkins said that Delaware Township, co-holder of the six-furlong track record here, returned to his barn here in fine condition and would be pointed to the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga on Sept. 1.

H.M.S. Jackson back on turf

H.M.S. Jackson, who was second to Grade 3 Salvator Mile winner Sea of Tranquility in the Bernie Dowd Handicap here July 22, will make his next start in the $50,000 Lincroft Handicap on the turf Sunday, according to trainer Tim Hills. H.M.S. Jackson prepped for the start with a four-furlong turf workout of 50.40 seconds on Wednesday.

H.M.S. Jackson won his only turf start, a 5 1/2-furlong sprint at Hialeah this winter. This meet, H.M.S. Jackson has two wins and two seconds. The Lincroft, for state-breds at one mile, will be his first start past six furlongs.

Quick Blue on turf, too

Quick Blue, fifth in the Grade 2 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks, will make her first start on the turf in Sunday's Twin Light Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles. Quick Blue, trained by Linda Rice, worked three furlongs in 36.80 over the turf course Wednesday. She has been stabled here since shipping in one week before the Oaks.

"Linda thought she would take to the turf well," said assistant trainer Samantha Randazzo. "We'll find out if that is true this Sunday."

* Karla's Victory and Orage D'Hiver both won their respective heats of a five-furlong three-other-than optional claiming allowance turf sprint on July 13. They square off in Friday's feature, which is at the same conditions for fillies and mares. The race, the eighth on a nine-race card, drew a field of eight.

* Lost Expectations, trained by Perkins, breezed five furlongs in 50.20 seconds Wednesday in preparation for the Grade 2 $150,000 Adirondack at Saratoga on Monday. Lost Expectations finished a troubled third in the Grade 2 Schuylerville at Saratoga opening day. Jorge Chavez will ride Lost Expectations for the first time in the Adirondack.