09/12/2010 1:29PM

Etched hardly looks rusty winning Formal Gold

Bill Denver/Equiphotos
Etched, under Alan Garcia, splashes to a one-length victory in the Formal Gold Stakes.

Neither a long layoff nor a sloppy track bothered Etched as he launched his comeback with a one-length victory in Sunday’s $75,000 Formal Gold Stakes at Monmouth Park.

Making his first start since finishing far back in last November’s Clark Handicap, Etched ($3.20) battled head to head with Chirac from about the three-eighths pole to the eighth pole until finally pulling clear late under jockey Alan Garcia.

“I knew I had the leader [Chirac] anytime I wanted,” Garcia said.  “I was worried about Sir Whimsey coming after us, but at the quarter pole I looked back and he wasn’t coming.  He’s come back great.  I was real impressed with him.”

The 5-year-old Etched, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, is now 3 for 3 on off tracks and 6 for 8 lifetime. In his last visit to New Jersey, he won the Grade 2 Meadowlands Cup.

Etched completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.03.

Chirac finished 5 1/4 lengths clear of Sir Whimsey in the four-horse field.