08/15/2001 11:00PM

Broken Vow likes it fast


OCEANPORT, N.J. - All signs point to Broken Vow running a big race in the $350,000 Iselin Handicap on Aug. 26.

Broken Vow earned a 115 Beyer Speed Figure in winning the $75,000 Skip Away Stakes by 5 3/4 lengths two races back on June 30. He returned to win the $100,000 Carpenter Memorial at Delaware Park on July 21.

Broken Vow has been pointing to the 1 1/8-mile Iselin since the Skip Away, which was his first race at Monmouth Park.

"He seems to handle the hard, fast tracks a little better," said trainer Graham Motion. "He struggled a little with the Delaware track in his last race. He has done well at tracks like Monmouth, Keeneland, and Gulfstream."

Broken Vow won his first four starts, all of which came last year when he was 3. His races this year include a victory in the Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap at Keeneland and third-place finishes in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap and the Grade 3 Massachusetts Handicap over a sloppy Suffolk Downs track.

Motion gave Broken Vow nearly eight months off between his 3- and 4-year-old seasons, and Broken Vow is better for the break.

"We kind of had this in mind when we gave him a lot of time off," said Motion. "He is such a big, strong horse, and being by Unbridled, we figured that his 4-year-old year would be better than his 3-year-old year."

Broken Vow worked six furlongs in 1:13.80 around the dogs over a "good" track at Delaware on Monday with Ramon Dominguez aboard. Motion said Broken Vow would put in his last workout for the Iselin on Monday and likely ship here on race day.

Key Lory to stay on grass

Key Lory, winner of the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap in his first race on turf, breezed four furlongs in 51 seconds over a fast main track on Thursday. Trainer Dennis Manning said Key Lory will likely start in the $100,000 Sussex Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on the turf at Delaware Park on Sept. 1.

Manning said Key Lory was entered in the Oceanport to ensure a fast pace for stablemate Ready to Roll. Instead, Key Lory went gate to wire, holding off North East Bound.

"You don't get by him in the stretch," said Manning. "He is as tough as they come."

Manning also said stakes winner Ready to Roll would point to the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger at The Meadowlands on Sept. 14. Manning said he wants to keep Key Lory and Ready to Roll apart.

Hunter Cruise takes to turf

Trainer Todd Pletcher had planned to train maiden winner Hunter Cruise to the Continental Mile on the turf here Sept. 1. But when an allowance race for 2-year-olds going a mile on turf came up Wednesday, Pletcher decided to run him.

Hunter Cruise, in his first grass try, stormed past the leaders at the top of the stretch and won by six lengths. He ran the mile in 1:38.75 as the 2-1 favorite.

Now, he has a turf win under his belt with the Continental Mile coming in two weeks.

"There aren't many options at this time for 2-year-olds that want to route," said assistant trainer George Weaver. "He handled the surface well and I was very pleased with his performance."