06/25/2009 11:00PM

Cable Boy out to make good on early promise

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Cable Boy, the early-season sensation of the 2007 meet, is slated to make only his second start since the fall of that memorable year Sunday at Monmouth.

The 5-year-old launches his comeback in a third-level $50,000 optional claimer at six furlongs.

"We'll look to eventually stretch him back out," trainer Pat McBurney said. "After this race, he should be good and fit. It will give us some idea of what level he belongs at. If he can repeat his 3-year-old form, we're in good shape."

The possibilities seemed limitless back then. Cable Boy started with a bang, reeling off three straight wins, including a track-record victory at one mile and 70 yards and a powerful front-running win in the Coronado's Quest Stakes.

Then came the plunge into the deep end of the stakes pool: the Grade 1 Haskell. Cable Boy set the pace before fading to fifth behind a trio of marquee colts: Any Given Saturday, Hard Spun, and Curlin.

He ran once more that season, finishing 10th in the Pennsylvania Derby. Then trouble hit.

While training for a fall stakes at the Meadowlands, Cable Boy suffered a suspensory injury that took a long time to heal.

He didn't race for over a year, returning last September to run second in a turf race here.

"It was getting wet and we didn't want to run him on deeper tracks, so we just kicked him back out to the farm," McBurney said.

Given the injury, Cable Boy will now run only on fast dirt tracks or firm turf. With all the rain on the Jersey Shore over the past months, there have been few opportunities to find either.

"Any kind of wet track, he can't perform," McBurney said. "He's coming back good, acting great."

These are final chances for Cable Boy to prove he can still run for owners Jim Dinan and the Phantom House Farm.

"The owners said to give it one more shot," McBurney said. "He's got to prove he is still a racehorse or he's not."

Joey P. on the improve

Joey P. continues to make excellent progress following emergency intestinal surgery and is recuperating at Black Oak Farm in Egg Harbor Township, N.J.

Trainer Ben Perkins Jr. expects the popular New Jersey-bred gelding back in action this fall.

"He has a long incision that has to heal up," Perkins said. "The thing about him is that he does come to hand very quickly. You gallop him two weeks, breeze him twice and he's ready to go. He doesn't take a lot of training. That's one of the reasons he's been able to stay at such a high level."

The 7-year-old is 16-7-1 in 35 career starts with earnings of $973,472.

Albertrani barn batting .500

Tom Albertrani has a division at Monmouth Park for the first time this year, and the string has been blazing at a 10-for-20 clip. Another six hit the board, for a sensational 80 percent in-the-money tally.

Notable members of the 17-horse barn include Brahms Lullaby, a two-time winner here already, and Harlow's Court, an impressive debut victor on the turf.

"He ran greenly, so we're excited to see what he can do," said assistant Adele Bellinger, enjoying her first visit to Monmouth.

"The horses seem to be liking it a lot here," Bellinger said. "We've had some luck and some horses ready to run in the right spots."

Bellinger, born in upstate New York and raised in Wyoming, has worked for Albertrani for four years and was promoted to assistant seven months ago.