Updated on 11/18/2010 6:13PM

Chirac finds softer spot in Frisk Me Now Stakes

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Chirac will be making his third start since returning from injury in Saturday's Frisk Me Now Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Chirac, making the third start of his comeback, tops the field Saturday in the $70,000 Frisk Me Now Stakes as the Monmouth Park season comes to a close.

This is the final weekend as the meet concludes Sunday.

Chirac will try to regain the form that made him a star here last season. He won four times at Monmouth in 2009, including the Grade 3 Iselin Stakes by a rousing 6 3/4 lengths.

He suffered a soft-tissue injury following the Iselin, and it took more than a year to recover. The healing was slower than initially expected, wiping out most of this campaign.

A 5-year-old gelding, Chirac returned Sept. 12 with a bang-up effort, missing by only one length to Etched in Monmouth’s Formal Gold Stakes.

Etched got the best of him again in the Grade 2 Monmouth Cup on Oct. 9. Etched held off Musket Man by a neck that afternoon, with the pacesetting Chirac getting third.

That was a quality field as both Etched and Musket Man advanced to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where they were sixth and seventh, respectively, behind Blame.

The competition is certainly softer this time around in the Frisk Me Now.

“He hasn’t had an easy race,” trainer Jane Cibelli said of Chirac’s comeback. “You have to think he ran against some very nice horses.”

Horses often find their best form in the third start of a cycle, and Chirac could fit that profile. He has turned in two solid works since the Monmouth Cup.

“He’s doing well, coming into the race well,” Cibelli said. “There is a lot of speed in the race. Hopefully, we won’t be compromised by that. He’s training very well.”

Well Positioned, one of those likely speed horses, looks like the main threat.

A 4-year-old colt trained by Rick Dutrow, Well Positioned carries a two-race winning streak into the race, although those victories were well spaced. After posting a win over Aqueduct’s inner track in February, Well Positioned returned Oct. 14 with a third-level allowance victory at Belmont Park. He earned triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in three of his last four races.

Gone Astray seems to have lost his way since winning the Grade 3 Salvator Mile here in July. He flattened out in his two starts since then, the Iselin and an overnight stakes at Belmont.