06/20/2010 12:00AM

At the Disco primed for Dowd repeat


OCEANPORT, N.J. - At the Disco had his tune-up on opening day at Monmouth Park, chasing very fast sprinters in the Decathlon Stakes.

Now, it's time for the serious running.

At the Disco switches back to New Jersey-bred company while stretching out Sunday for the $100,000 Bernie Dowd Handicap.

At the Disco, a commanding winner by seven lengths in the slop in last year's Dowd, faces 12 rivals in the mile and 70-yard race.

"He's not really a sprinter," trainer Mary Hartmann said. "I think in this spot, I'm as good as anybody. He's doing well."

At the Disco won three stakes last year. In addition to the Dowd, he also beat statebreds in the off-turf Lincroft Handicap. He closed the campaign with an open win in the Alysheba Stakes at the Meadowlands.

The 6-year-old gray homebred for Pat Generazio is 3-0-2 in 7 starts at the distance. He will be reunited with Eddie Castro who was aboard last year for the Dowd.

Kenwood Racing sends out an entry of Cuba and Hermosillo, two veterans of the New Jersey-bred wars.

Cuba, now 9, was claimed for $32,000 on Feb. 12 at Gulfstream Park.

"It was a risk, but most of them are," trainer Steve DiMauro said. "The reward can be good."

One of the richest active New Jersey-breds with $751,904 in earnings, Cuba has run twice in open company since the barn change, with a fifth-place finish the best result.

DiMauro feels the entry gives him an effective 1-2 punch. Cuba is a closer while Hermosillo is a pure speed horse.

Hermosillo went down the road last summer to spring a 35-1 upset in the Charles Heese III Handicap for New Jersey breds.

Like At the Disco, Hermosillo ran once this year in a sprint. He should be more effective on the stretch out.

Bernie the Maestro ships in

Bernie the Maestro arrived Wednesday morning at David Fawkes's barn after shipping up from Calder. Milton Wolfson sent the gelding north for the $100,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes for 3-year-old turf sprinters.

It could be a brief visit.

"We'll see how he runs," Fawkes said. "Right now, he's scheduled to go back. He's got a good shot in here. He's a nice little horse. He's tried really hard. And he's tried every distance."

Bernie the Maestro is easily the most experienced horse in the field as he makes his 17th start. He was a rallying winner in his only other grass sprint at Gulfstream in February.

In the Ocean landed the rail in the 5 1/2-furlong race. This will be his fourth start at a fourth different racetrack for trainer-owner Keith Dickey.

The colt trained here last summer but never ran due to an injury. He had already visited Fair Grounds and Indiana Downs this spring, before heading to Penn National for his maiden win.

The colt has been an ongoing challenge for Dickey. Not a day goes by that he doesn't cough. Dickey has changed his bedding and feed, but In the Ocean keeps having his Claritin moments.

"I've never been around a horse like that," Dickey said. "He literally coughs every day. As long as he's not sick, he's going to run."

Flamin' Hot, 3 for 3 in grass sprints, will likely be the favorite.