07/19/2007 11:00PM

Bridgmohan to ride at Monmouth

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MIAMI - After his record-setting 2006 Tropical at Calder meeting, apprentice Jermaine Bridgmohan appeared to be on the verge of a huge 2007 campaign. But a frightening accident on opening day of the Gulfstream Park session, followed by a similarly ugly spill shortly after his comeback later in the meet, brought Bridgmohan's seemingly skyrocketing career to a halt during the opening half of the season.

Bridgmohan started off slowly in early June after returning from his latest riding mishap, but has gradually regained the timing and confidence that made him such an instant sensation here last fall. And with Calder going to a three-day race week over the next month, Bridgmohan has decided to leave south Florida to continue riding regularly and hopefully sustain the momentum he's built over the last several weeks.

Bridgmohan and his agent, Cory Moran, will pack the car and head north on Monday with Monmouth Park their destination. The pair plan to be on the grounds and ready for business on Wednesday morning.

"Jermaine has actually been thinking about doing this for a while," said Moran. "He just doesn't want to be sitting around here and riding only three days a week. It just doesn't make sense to lose the time he's got left with the bug."

Moran said he has contacted a number of trainers in New Jersey and New York about Bridgmohan's impending arrival and the response has been favorable.

"Obviously it's tough going into a place like Monmouth midway into the meet," said Moran. "But Jermaine seems to be in a little groove now, and he wants to keep it up and not have to break during the three-day weeks down here. In addition there doesn't seem to be much activity among apprentice riders in New Jersey, and I have spoken to a number of trainers, like Kelly Breen, Tim Hills, and Eddie Broome, who have already told me they're going to use him."

Moran says Bridgmohan will return to Calder for the Extreme Day program on July 28 to honor calls for trainer Marty Wolfson, but he otherwise plans to stay north if all goes well.

"If we can take off at Monmouth then we'll probably stay up here to ride the Meadowlands and Belmont circuit in the fall," said Moran.

Due to extensions received when he was injured this year, Bridgmohan will keep his five-pound allowance until January.

Dead heat for two turf stars

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. and his colleague Ron Spatz stood a few feet away from one another near the winner's circle staring intently at the tote board after their turf stars Magic Mecke and Croton Road were inseparable crossing the finish line in Friday's second race. Several minutes later, the pair were shaking hands and congratulating one another after the official results revealed the race to be a dead heat.

Magic Mecke and Croton Road were both coming off lengthy layoffs entering Friday's $35,000 allowance feature. The two had been scheduled to meet earlier this month in the Grade 3 Mecke Handicap but had their comebacks delayed after the race was moved to the main track due to heavy rain.

"All that for $35,000," Plesa said jokingly after the results were posted.

For the 7-year-old Magic Mecke, the outing was his first since his second-place finish behind Revved Up in the Bonnie Heath Turf Cup on Nov. 11.

"That was a gutsy race for the first time back, and the main thing is that he seemed to return in good shape," said Plesa.

Croton Road was making just his second start of the year, and first since a fourth-place finish behind English Channel at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 22.

"I'm tickled to death by that effort," said Spatz. "It's a great comeback."