07/17/2002 11:00PM

Blackjack Boy brings versatile style into Tyro

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Blackjack Boy was purchased for $130,000 at the Keeneland Fasig-Tipton July yearling sale last year by Dave Clark, and Clark put him back into the Ocala February 2-year-old in-training sale this year.

Fortunately for Clark and trainer Steve Morguelan, Blackjack Boy was not bought, because in three career starts he has already turned out to be a stakes winner. And Blackjack Boy, shipping in from Morguelan's Kentucky base, should be favored to win his second consecutive stakes in the $50,000 Tyro Stakes at Monmouth on Saturday.

The 5 1/2-furlong Tyro, the prep for the Grade 3 Sapling on Aug. 10, drew a field of seven 2-year-olds. The Tyro is the fifth race on a 10-race card.

Clark said Blackjack Boy, a son of Valid Wager, didn't breeze that well at the Ocala sales, and when the reserve was not met he bought Blackjack Boy back. In his first start at Churchill Downs May 2, Blackjack Boy won his maiden race in the slop. He returned in the Grade 3 Kentucky Breeders' Cup, and ran a solid third behind the impressive winner, Posse.

In his last start July 4, Blackjack Boy shipped to Prairie Meadows for the Prairie Gold Juvenile and stalked a rapid pace and went on to win going away by 2 1/2 lengths. The colt has run near the pace and also closed from off the pace, a versatile style that should benefit him with substantial speed in the Tyro. Eibar Coa, leading rider here, picks up the mount.

"The timing is good for the race," Morguelan said, "and there's not a lot of 2-year-old stakes out there. He has a good sprint pedigree and is a pretty versatile horse."

Morguelan said the Sapling in three weeks would be an option for Blackjack Boy if he runs well Saturday.

Despite a small field, the Tyro has a competitive bunch. Ronny Werner, stabled at Monmouth for the first time, does his best work with juveniles, and he sends out the entry of Down Play and Jet Love. Jet Love is the stronger half of the entry, as he exits a sixth-place finish in the ultra-tough Three Chimneys Juvenile at Churchill on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 4. He has been rested since then and should come out gunning with jockey Eddie Martin, who comes in from Delaware for the ride. Down Play last ran third in the Grade 3 Flash at Belmont June 7.

Farno, trained by Frank Generazio, has run second to two of the top juveniles on the grounds - Wildcat Heir and Valid Video - in two maiden races here this meet. He will be tough once again on the front end, but is still a maiden in three starts.

Max a Million, Bring out the Best, and Trueamericanspirit complete the field.

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