08/17/2005 11:00PM

Grusmark set for either surface


Trainer Karl Grusmark holds the hammer in Saturday's $40,000 Thomas F. Moran Stakes at Suffolk Downs, with a major player ready whether the race stays on the grass or moves to the main track. The Moran, for statebreds, is run at 1 1/16 miles and nine were entered.

Grusmark sends Monsterous Mitch, who posted 3 of his 4 career wins on the turf and will have a solid chance to win his first stakes after falling short in four previous tries, including last year's Moran, where he finished third.

If the race moves to the main track, Grusmark will have defending champion Jini's Jet poised to earn his fourth straight victory and third straight stakes.

Jini's Jet took advantage of a washout last year to win the Moran by 6 1/2 lengths. He has won 21 times, but has never won on turf despite finishing in the money in 6 of his 7 turf tries.

Depending on how the weather and course conditions play out, Jini's Jet's may renew his rivalry with Ask Queenie.

Coming off a 10 3/4-length win in the First Episode Stakes on Aug. 6, Ask Queenie finished second to Jini's Jet in the Last Dance Stakes on July 4. In that race, she was giving a pound to Jini's Jet. This time she'll carry five fewer pounds than both of Grusmark's entrants, who are co-highweights at 124 pounds.

There is no shortage of age or experience in the field, in which 6 of the 9 runners are at least 7 years old.

Abit Eratic, a 10-year-old, has 11 wins - second in the field to Jini's Jet - but he has lost his last four races by a combined 70 1/2 lengths since taking the Northampton Stakes at the fair last fall.

Murray's Dream is a recent allowance winner on the turf, and he joins Monsterous Mitch and Abit Eratic as the only entrants with victories on grass.

Blue Orage is still a maiden, but has finished second or third in five of his six starts. He was assigned 109 pounds, but trainer Tom McCooey named jockey Vernon Bush, who is likely to be overweight.

Boston Bay is winless in 36 races, and was fourth in this race last year.

Caramel's Express and Silent Scamper complete the field.