07/19/2006 12:00AM

Board approves replacement dates


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The New Jersey Racing Commission on Wednesday approved the request from Monmouth Park and the Meadowlands Racetrack to add four Thoroughbred racing dates to the 2006 schedule to replace cards lost earlier this month during the shutdown of New Jersey state government.

Monmouth picked up one day, Sept. 6. The Meadowlands picked up three days: Oct. 31, Nov. 6, and Nov. 7. The Meadowlands also got two additional harness dates: Aug. 11 and 12.

Also at the meeting, which took place at Monmouth:

* The commission disbursed $1.8 million from the 2005 Casino Simulcasting Special Fund to the state's racetracks and associations representing horsemen and breeders. The New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association opposed the distribution on procedural grounds.

* The commission affirmed an administrative law judge's decision supporting the stewards' decision in Monmouth's 2005 Iselin Handicap.

West Virginia won the race despite drifting into the path of runner-up Zoffinger. The stewards found no grounds for a disqualification.

Dennis Drazin, the president of the horsemen's association and also the owner of Zoffinger, filed an appeal to the commission that referred the case to an administrative law judge for a full hearing. Having lost at the commission level, Drazin said he will file a court challenge.

* The commission heard a request from jockey Jesus Guadalupe for reinstatement of his license. Guadalupe, who has ridden for the last 20 years in Puerto Rico, was convicted in 1977 of race fixing at Garden State Park. The commission deferred a decision while Guadalupe tries to have the criminal conviction expunged from his record.

Bluegrass Cat among Haskell invites

Monmouth extended 29 invitations for the $1 million Haskell for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Aug. 6.

Among the likely Haskell runners, according to race secretary Mike Dempsey, were Bluegrass Cat, the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes runner-up; Deputy Glitters, who won the Ohio Derby; and Praying for Cash, a local hopeful who earned the invitation with a victory last Saturday in Monmouth's Grade 3 Long Branch Stakes.

Making only his second start in a route race, Praying for Cash dueled 1-2 favorite Latent Heat into submission in the 1 1/4-length win.

Praying for Cash returned to the track Wednesday morning.

"We took him back to the track, and he seems the same as he did before the race," said trainer Kelly Breen. "He was just trotting around. We're trying to take it easy with him because it is still a little hot out.

"I just hope he belongs in the Haskell. It's going to be a tough race. They don't give away a million dollars. It's great to be in the hunt."

Godolphin trying to go 3 for 3

The Godolphin Stable has won both of its starts at Monmouth this meet, including the Elkwood Stakes last Saturday with Ashkal Way. It will try to extend the streak Friday, when it sends Safsoof in a $45,000 third-level allowance. The race will be contested at six furlongs and has an optional claiming price of $50,000.

A 4-year-old who has raced in Europe and Dubai, Safsoof has a win and a second in two U.S. starts, both at Belmont Park. He earned Beyer Speed Figures of 96 and 97 in those races.

Leading jockey Joe Bravo will be aboard.