06/08/2010 11:00PM

Former claimer Mandurah sets world record


So Grant Forster, how does it feel to train the world's fastest turf miler?

"I guess it feels a little different than it did last week," Forster said while chuckling at the thought.

Mandurah became the new record holder with a 1:31.23 mile on Sunday at Monmouth. Mister Light set the old mark of 1:31.41 on Jan. 3, 2005, at Gulfstream.

The record was as stunning as it was improbable, coming in Mandurah's grass debut. Not bad for a 6-year-old gelding running for a $7,500 tag earlier this year at Oaklawn Park.

And it didn't seem to take anything out of him, as he won by a widening 8 1/2 lengths.

Mandurah finally tapped the potential Forster believed was there when he arranged a private purchase in 2008. It took a dip into the low claimers to finally get the horse on course. He has won 4 of his last 5, primarily in starter handicaps like the one he ran in Sunday, which was for horses having run for a claiming price of $12,500 or less in 2009-10.

"I thought he would like the turf here because it is very firm and bouncy," Forster said. "I thought he'd get a hold of it really well, but obviously didn't expect any kind of performance like that."

◗ Presious Passion looks to defend his title in the $250,000 Monmouth Stakes on Saturday. He will face eight rivals in his first start since running 16th in the Dubai Sheema Classic on March 27. The Monmouth Stakes is the prep for the Grade 1, $750,000 United Nations Stakes on July 3, a race Presious Passion won in 2008 and 2009.

* Friends and colleagues of Bill Handleman, the longtime sportswriter and racing columnist for the Asbury Park Press who died Wednesday at age 62, will hold a memorial tribute on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. until noon at Mister C's Beach Bistro in Allenhurst, N.J. The $50 donation to cover family expenses includes brunch at the restaurant and two clubhouse passes to Monmouth. For further information call 973-951-3924.