09/09/2010 12:48PM

Fall portion of Monmouth's experiment begins with 12-race card, Revidere Stakes

Sweeter Still is among the contenders in Saturday's Revidere Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – The fall portion of the Monmouth Park season doesn’t have a snappy title like the “Elite Summer Meet” that concluded on Labor Day.

It also doesn’t have the cachet of this past summer when Monmouth handed out record purse money. The summer experiment of running fewer days was a success with attendance and handle figures showing huge gains.

But that was only the first half of the trial. Now comes a key test starting Saturday to see how well the balance of the season holds up.

The Monmouth fall season kicks off with a 12-race card topped by the $75,000 Revidere Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.

Monmouth will be testing the waters, hoping the momentum from the summer carries into the fall for an extended run through Nov. 21.

Just as the summer brought radical change to Monmouth, so will the autumn. The Monmouth facility is built for summer racing, and the meet will push the boundaries of the calendar by racing so late.

Just as over the summer, the scheduled has been trimmed. The track will run only two days a week, Saturday and Sunday. There is no Thoroughbred meet at the Meadowlands this year.

The money, while nowhere close to the summer, will be good. Purses will be $375,000 a day, higher that Monmouth’s average for all of 2009.

“The racing is going to be good, even though we don’t have the glitz of the $50 million Elite Meet,” said assistant general manager Bill Knauf. “The feeling around here is that the racing is going to be very strong. With only two days a week, we should hopefully have full fields.”

Monmouth plans to run 12 races a day in September, 11 in October, and 10 in November.

“The fall around here is a pretty time,” Knauf said. “We’ll take advantage of that with some of our special days.”

Highlights include the annual New Jersey-bred festival on Sept. 18, the steeplechase charity card on Sept. 25, and an Octoberfest in conjunction with the meet’s premier event, the Grade 2, $300,000 Monmouth Cup (formerly the Meadowlands Cup) on Oct. 9.

The success of the fall meet will largely hinge the strength of the racing product.

“I think we’ll offer bettors around the country some good racing to play,” Knauf said. “Our turf course still looks good, so we’ll carry that as far as we can.

“This meet will be a good gauge for the future. We know the Elite Meet works. This is the other piece of the puzzle. How late in year do we want to race?”

Unbridled Essence tunes up for Flower Bowl

Unbridled Essence, winner of the Grade 3 Matchmaker Stakes here last month, heads the field for the Revidere at 1 1/16 miles.

The 41-1 upset in the Matchmaker improved Unbridled Essence’s Monmouth turf record to 3-1-1 in 6 starts while earning her a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure. Trainer Greg Sacco would like to use the Revidere as a prep for the Grade 1 Flower Bowl at Belmont Park on Oct. 2.

First Ascent also scored an upset in her last outing, taking the Red Carpet Stakes at Penn National at 10-1.

Sweeter Still stretches out after winning the 7 1/2-furlong Light Hearted Stakes at Delaware Park.

Becky’s Exchange, winner of the Desert Vixen Stakes here last season, looks to build on a recent third-level allowance victory.

◗ “Racing at the Shore”, a photography exhibit by Bill Denver, takes place Sept. 16 at the Blue Bay Inn in Atlantic Highlands, N.J. as part of a cocktail reception honoring Dennis Drazin, chairman of the New Jersey Racing Commission.

Tickets are $25 in advance, $50 at the door, with proceeds supporting the Jockey Through Life Scholarship Fund at Brookdale Community College. For more information call (732) 708-9600.