08/15/2006 12:00AM

First stakes try for Wild Rex


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The unbeaten Wild Rex steps into stakes company for the first time Thursday in the $60,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes for 3-year-old turf sprinters at Monmouth Park.

The Anderson Fowler was originally scheduled for Sunday but failed to fill. The race office brought the stakes back with better results.

Wild Rex faces six rivals, including stablemate Cucina Nick from Michael Pino's Delaware Park stable.

A son of Wild Event, Wild Rex looks to extend his win streak to four in the 5 1/2-furlong stakes.

Wild Rex won two races at 2, both on the main track. He won his maiden at Delaware and captured a first-level allowance race at Monmouth.

In his season debut, Wild Rex tried turf for the first time and responded with a pacesetting win in a second-level allowance race at Delaware.

"It worked out great," Pino said. "I couldn't ask him to be doing any better."

The postponement of the Fowler forced Pino to alter plans. Wild Rex had an additional three-furlong work on Saturday, going in a bullet 35.80 seconds at Delaware.

"It does make you alter your training a little bit because you have everything lined up for Sunday," Pino said. "We had to blow him out three-eighths and he did that in fast time but well in hand. It all worked out. He's perfect for the race."

Stewart Elliott will ride Wild Rex.

Stablemate Cucina Nick also made his turf debut last time out, finishing second in a first-level allowance sprint at Delaware and earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 84.

"I ran him on the grass and he ran a big race," Pino said. "His number on the grass was pretty good, so I put him in. He's okay. He really loves the grass."

The key to the race is He's Got Grit and how well he takes to the turf. He has run in four races at Monmouth, all sprint stakes, and won three of them. He makes his grass debut following a commanding victory here in the Rumson Stakes.

He swept Monmouth's premier 2-year-old dirt stakes, the Tyro and the Sapling, and suffered his only loss here as a victim of the Henny Hughes rout in the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Stakes on July 1.

Completing the field are Winzalot, Mr. Silver, Chief Outsourcer, and Silver Prospector.