06/05/2004 11:00PM

Forest Music, Elliot win Crank It Up Stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - One day after losing the Triple Crown aboard Smarty Jones, Stewart Elliott won a stakes race at Monmouth Park.

Elliott guided Forest Music to a 1 1/2 length win in the $55,000 Crank It Up Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.

The five-furlong race, originally scheduled for the turf, was shifted to the sloppy main track.

The outcome was never in doubt once Forest Music ($3.40) broke cleanly. She held a huge class edge on the field, having won the Grade 3 Miss Preakness Stakes at Pimlico in her last race.

This spot was a steep class drop and only a mishap, like a poor start in her first wet-track experience, figured to derail her.

But Forest Music fired out strongly and set all the fractions.

"I got into her a little turning for home and probably didn't have to because, she had it won by then," said Elliott.

Schedule stalked the leader but never threatened. She held for second over Forty Moves.

Forest Music, who ran in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, stopped the clock in 56.90 seconds.

Forest Music is owned by Michael Gill and trained by Mark Shuman.

"We know that's she's easy to rate but we wanted to send her for the lead," said Shuman. "We figured that it's only five-eighths. Why risk having her get into traffic trouble?"

Shuman plans to jump Forest Music back up to Grade 1s for the next two starts: the Prioress on July 3 at Belmont Park and the Test at Saratoga on July 31.