06/11/2004 12:00AM

Final Round returns to roots in Monmouth Beach Stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Final Round returns to the scene of her first stakes victory Sunday in the $70,000 Monmouth Beach Stakes at Monmouth Park.

A 4-year-old Storm Cat filly, Final Round has a wealth of stakes experience, and it all started with a win in Monmouth's Junior Champion Stakes.

Final Round, fresh from a maiden score at Saratoga, drew off to a 2 1/2-length win in the slop in that race for 2-year-olds, which originally was slated for the turf.

She went on to win the Grade 3 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs at 3 - one of the highlights of a solid season in which she ran third in a pair of Grade 1 stakes at Belmont Park - the Acorn and the Mother Goose.

Final Round most recently finished fourth behind Storm Flag Flying in the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park.

While Final Round is an old hand at stakes races, Rousing Again steps up for her first crack at black type in the Monmouth Beach Stakes.

Rousing Again really blossomed on the transfer from California to Philadelphia Park last fall.

After six failed cracks at winning her maiden out West, Rousing Again won her East Coast debut.

And she didn't stop there, promptly reeling off three straight wins.

Rousing Again has not been worse than second in the seven starts since her maiden victory.

Her last race was the best yet, a 6 3/4-length romp in a money-allowance race at Philadelphia Park on May 24.

"That last race was very impressive," said Robert Sise, who trains the Philadelphia Park division of the Sise horses for his father, Clifford. "She just blew right by. She's been training great and the owner wants to get her stakes placed."

Tactically, Rousing Again has good early speed but she will allow a rider to rate her. Harry Vega has the ride.

This will be the final season for Rousing Again, who will join owner Larry D. Williams's growing broodmare band in Idaho.

Robert Sise trains 24 at Philadelphia while his father has 40 in California.

Pocus Hocus and Rebridled Dreams will ship down from New York for the race.

Pocus Hocus, trained by James Jerkens, hesitated at the start in last year's Monmouth Beach and wound up sixth. She was effective last fall at Aqueduct, winning the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes and finishing third in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap.

Rebridled Dreams returns to the main track after running sixth in a turf allowance at Belmont.

Chrusciki and Treasure's Dream complete the field.

Malouf attracts 23 horses

The start of the Malouf Auto Group Starter Handicap series on Sunday proved so popular that the race was split into two 10-horse divisions with three more runners on the alternate list.

Superiority, a $50,000 claim by leading owner Michael Gill last November, is the highweight at 122 pounds. He wound up in the first division, the fourth race on the card.

The turf series is restricted to horses that have started for a claiming price of $12,500 since June 1, 2003, and who have not won a stakes since becoming eligible.

The series has four legs of increasing lengths. It starts Sunday at one mile, goes to 1 1/16 miles on July 4, extends to 1 1/4 miles on Aug. 7, and concludes at 1 3/8 miles on Aug. 28.

As an incentive, the top four trainers in the series earn a bonus ranging from $5,000 down to $1,000.

Rider's debut race a thriller

Apprentice rider Stacy Podobinski finished third in her debut ride on Thursday, in an interesting journey aboard For Peter's Sake. A maiden filly, For Peter's Sake pressed the pace before drifting extremely wide on the turn. For Peter's Sake straightened away in the stretch to nail down the show spot.

Podobinski is the latest jockey under the tutelage of trainer John Forbes, who was instrumental in the careers of Julie Krone and Chuck Lopez. Podobinski doesn't know when she'll get another mount.

"It might be a few weeks," she said. "All I know is, I will continue to gallop eight horses a day in the morning."