06/18/2008 12:00AM

Hall of Famer Jimmy Croll is remembered


OCEANPORT. N.J. - The man always respectfully addressed as "Mister Croll" was remembered fondly at a memorial service Wednesday morning in the Monmouth Park clubhouse.

About 200 family members, friends, and colleagues of the Monmouth racing community turned out to honor Warren A. "Jimmy" Croll.

The Hall of Fame trainer, who developed four champions, died Juneo6 of an infection at age 88. He moved to New Jersey in 1946 for the opening of Monmouth and remained a beloved part of the scene until his passing.

"Very few times do you go through life and someone is always a 'mister' to you," said Monmouth's vice president and general manager, Bob Kulina. "He was always 'mister' to me first, and 'Jimmy' second, because he deserved that respect for such a wonderful career."

A video presentation recapped Croll's career highlights, including the 1987 Belmont Stakes win by Bet Twice that denied Alysheba the Triple Crown and Holy Bull's Horse of the Year campaign in 1994.

In addition to Holy Bull, Croll's champions were Parka, a $10,000 claim who went on to win 13 stakes; Forward Gal, the leading 2-year-old filly of 1970; and Housebuster, the top sprinter of 1990 and 1991.

Aside from his horsemanship, Croll was also remembered as a kind and compassionate man.

"He was always there for the family," said his son Bill Croll, who took over the stable about six years ago. "The horses came second. He always made sure we were taken care of.

"The major accomplishment in his mind was being inducted into the Hall of Fame. That was the one thing that he wanted everyone to know."

Orseno has two - or none

Trainer Joe Orseno has two talented fillies, D'wild Ride and Reata's Quik Punch, nominated to the $70,000 Dearly Precious Stakes on Saturday.

Either one would be a major factor in the six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies.

But both could be Dearly Precious no-shows.

Reata's Quik Punch, unbeaten in two starts this season, was entered in the $75,000 Cozy Lace Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds Wednesday night at Presque Isle Downs.

"Unless they get a thunderstorm and the track is bad, nothing would change on that front," Orseno said.

That leaves D'wild Ride - maybe.

She has reeled off three straight wins, including Monmouth's Just Smashing Stakes last time out. Orseno has another option in mind: the $150,000 Damsel Stakes for Ontario-breds on the turf on July 6 at Woodbine.

"We're not sure," Orseno said. "We're going to look at the Dearly Precious. We could run in both, but we have to talk it over.

"We are preparing the paperwork and we'll have her ready to run here. I don't know which race will be tougher or weaker. We'll have to see."

With the Orseno fillies questionable for the race, stakes coordinator Mike Melendez lists as likely Dearly Precious runners Hadavison, winner of Delaware Park's Peach Blossom Stakes most recently; Mikeslittlegirl; Overandabeauty; Sumptuous; and True Intentions.

The $60,000 Anderson Fowler for 3-year-olds at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf is the supporting feature Saturday.

Mannington, a $32,000 claim by trainer Terri Pompay in December at Calder, will make his grass debut. He has gone 3 for 5 since the claim, most recently running fourth in Monmouth's Rumson Stakes on Mayo31.