08/26/2001 12:00AM

Broken Vow takes Iselin Handicap


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Going into the Grade 2, $350,000 Iselin Handicap Sunday at Monmouth, Broken Vow's trainer, Graham Motion, still wasn't convinced his 4-year-old colt belonged with the top horses in the handicap division.

Broken Vow convinced his trainer that he deserves a chance in the Breeders' Cup Classic come fall, as he won his second graded-stakes in impressive fashion before a crowd of 18,880. First Lieutenant was two lengths back in second, and seven lengths clear of Sir Bear in third. North East Bound and Knock Again completed the order of finish.

"It's certainly in the forefront of my mind now," said Motion on the possibility of running Broken Vow in the Classic. "There are a couple of races we'll look at: The Kentucky Cup Classic at Turfway Park, a race at Belmont, and the Meadowlands Cup [September 28]. The Meadowlands Cup is the most serious one we're considering."

Broken Vow, owned by Pin Oak Stable, broke perfectly under Ramon Dominguez from the outside post, stalking the moderate pace off North East Bound. He was never more than one length off the leader, while Sir Bear and First Lieutenant ran about three lengths back of the first two. Midway down the backstretch, Broken Vow came even with North East Bound, and took the lead entering the final turn.

First Lieutenant lodged a rally turning for home, as Broken Vow opened up two lengths down the lane. He only increased his lead down the lane, and maintained a clear lead to the wire. First Lieutenant, in his first graded stakes, ran well to finish second despite drifting out in the stretch. Sir Bear failed to move with First Lieutenant and finished well back in third. Broken Vow ($3.40), the 3-5 favorite, covered the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:49.55. He improved to 9-0-2 in 12 career starts.

Broken Vow, a 4-year-old son of Unbridled, went undefeated in four starts as a 3-year-old, and returned to the track this year with top-notch performances. He ran third in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Handicap to Sir Bear, and then won the Grade 3 Ben Ali Handicap for his first graded-stakes win. In the Grade 2 Massachusetts Handicap June 2, he ran third behind Sir Bear. In winning the Iselin, he turned the tables on three-time Grade 1 winner Sir Bear.

After the Mass Cap, Motion planned an easier schedule for Broken Vow. The plan worked according to plan as he won the Skip Away Stakes over this track and the Carpenter Memorial at Delaware.

The day was an extremely successful one for Motion, who won four races across the country Sunday. He won two races at Delaware Park for Pin Oak Stable.

* The Christophe Clement-trained Zeiting ($7.00) got up past Cousin Gigi in the last jump to win the $75,000 Omnibus Stakes by a neck. Ladies Night In, who set the early fractions with Quidnaskra, finished third. Zeiting covered the 1 1/16 mile-turf race for fillies and mares in 1:41.44. Chris DeCarlo was aboard Zeiting for his second win of the day.

* One Eyed Joker, trained by Bill Perry, made a long-awaited return to the winner's circle in the $75,000 Choice Stakes, storming past the leaders four-wide down the stretch to pull away to a 1 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds. One Eyed Joker, having come up winless in 3-year-old turf stakes all year, won his first race since January. Jose Velez Jr. was aboard One Eyed Joker ($15.40), who covered the race over a fast turf course in 1:47.77. Szep was second and First Spear third.

* Scagnelli ($8.40) rated in second through the majority of the $75,000 Bob Harding Stakes for 3-year-olds and up, and took command of the lead from pacesetter Rudirudy with seventy yards remaining to win the one-mile turf event by 3/4 lengths. Rudirudy was second, one-half length clear of the late-running Crash Course. Scagnelli, a 6-year-old gelding trained and owned by Eddie Broome, covered the Bob Harding distance in 1:34.65 with jockey Mark Guidry aboard.