08/31/2009 11:00PM

Duke of Homberg tries anew


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Expectations were high around the Tom Albertrani barn for Duke of Homberg after a solid winter in Florida that included a victory in the Hallandale Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

The Duke did not follow through on the early-season promise, turning in a pair of poor efforts at Belmont Park. He was gelded following a July 5 and given time off. Duke of Homberg will launch his comeback Wednesday in the $65,000 Restoration Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

"He was the kind of horse who got himself a little bit hot going over to the races," Albertrani said of the decision to geld. "He was very nervous. We just wanted to see if we could tone that down and change his demeanor."

The 1 1/16-mile race on the turf, originally scheduled for Sunday, drew a field of eight. The race lost a top contender when Mikoshi ran Saturday at Saratoga, finishing second in the Lure Stakes.

It is a favorable spot for Duke of Homberg, if he can recapture the Florida form.

"He's been training well coming up to the race," Albertrani said. "We want to see if he can come back to his old form again, hopefully like he did in the . It looked like he was going in the right direction, but after that, he never ran that same race back and he was getting very nervous. Hopefully, this will change him, but we won't know until we get him back on track."

Chris DeCarlo will ride.

Open Outcry will be taking a first stab at stakes company for trainer Alan Seewald.

He has 2 wins and a second in 3 starts since making the transition to grass. Open Outcry joined Seewald's barn over the winter and made one final dirt appearance before making the surface switch.

"He really worked good on the dirt, so we thought he could handle it," Seewald said. "He just didn't like it all. He got better with every start on the grass."

Most recently, Open Outcry dead-heated for the win in a here Aug. 19. The postponement of the Restoration from last weekend added time that Seewald feels will help.

"He's doing good and he's coming along," Seewald said. "The rain helped us because now we don't have to come back in 11 days."