07/21/2005 11:00PM

Gygistar gets class relief in Grade 3 mile

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Gygistar finds a cozy spot Sunday in the Grade 3, $150,000 Salvator Mile Handicap at Monmouth Park.

The highweight in the race at 119 pounds, Gygistar loves the distance. The 6-year-old gelding trained by Mark Hennig is 3 for 4 lifetime at a mile.

He should also like the company.

got a steady diet of Grade 1 and Grade 2 races last year. He ran competitively at that level but was only 1 for 12 on the season.

Spotted more conservatively this year, Gygistar has two wins and two seconds in four starts. He captured the Grade 3 Westchester Handicap and was second in the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap last time out.

"The Grade 3 company is a lot nicer to him than the Grade 1's last year," said Rob Rader, who trains Hennig's Monmouth division. "We didn't have anybody to run in those races, and he did a lot. The Grade 3 company helps him a lot."

The Grade 1 burden in the Hennig barn fell to Eddington before his career-ending injury. Since then, Tap Day has stepped into that role with his second-place finish in the Grade 1 Suburban.

That freed up Gygistar for spots like the Salvator.

On class and distance, Gygistar - the winner of 10 career races and more than $1 million - will be tough in this spot.

Joe Bravo, who broke his collarbone in a Thursday spill at Monmouth, had been slated to ride. Eibar Coa will come down from Belmont to replace him for Gygistar's Monmouth debut.

If Gygistar runs well in the Salvator, Rader said Monmouth's Grade 3, $250,000 Philip H. Iselin Breeders' Cup Handicap on Aug. 28 would be a long-range goal.

The Salvator marks a return to stakes action for My Snookie's Boy. The 4-year-old colt emerged last season as Lion Heart's main nemesis in two confrontations at Monmouth, the Grade 3 Long Branch Breeders' Cup Stakes and the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational Handicap.

joined the Peter Walder barn this season when Allen Iwinski dispersed his stable, citing health issues.

This will be the third start of the meet for My Snookie's Boy. He ran poorly in the Frisk Me Now Stakes in May before rebounding nicely with a one-mile allowance victory.

"I've gotten to know him a lot better now and he's really getting into good shape," Walder said.

, the winner of Monmouth's Skip Away Stakes; Record Buster; Colita; and Aggadan complete the field.