07/30/2003 11:00PM

Haskell theme chrome-wheeled, fuel-injected


The Kentucky Derby has "My Old Kentucky Home" and the Preakness has "Maryland, My Maryland,"

The $1 million Haskell Invitational now has a theme song, "Born To Run," that, in time, could also become closely identified with the race.

Monmouth Park, having already extended invitations to the stars of the 3-year-old division for the Grade 1 Haskell, reached out to another noteworthy performer - Bruce Springsteen - for the race anthem.

The Boss, in the midst of a record-setting 10-date engagement at Giants Stadium, has been invited to bring his family to the Haskell on Sunday. Monmouth officials were not certain if he will attend.

As part of deepening relationship between New Jersey's most famous active entertainer and the state's premier horse race, Springsteen has agreed to let Monmouth use "Born to Run" as the Haskell theme.

"I am very pleased to announce today Bruce Springsteen has graciously agreed to allow the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to play 'Born to Run' as the horses enter the track," said George Zofffinger, president of the NJSEA.

"It's our intention that this song become synonymous with the Haskell. We are proud of our relationship with Bruce Springsteen."

At least one of the Haskell trainers is rooting for a Springsteen appearance Sunday.

"I hope to get the opportunity to bump into Mr. Springsteen," said Doug O'Neill, who sends out longshot Excessivepleasure.

On the road

Excessivepleasure arrived at Monmouth Wednesday evening and settled into trainer Kelly Breen's barn.

O'Neill won't arrive until Sunday, leaving Breen to handle the final preparations.

"Kelly has been fantastic," O'Neill said. "I can't thank him enough for his kindness."

Excessivepleasure, said O'Neill, will "gallop Friday and Saturday and walk Sunday morning."

Excessivepleasure, an experienced traveler, handled the flight from California in fine form.

"He's traveled so much in such a short time, it's not a big deal," O'Neill said of Excessivepleasure, winner of the the Iowa Derby and WinStar Derby. "For him, it's another day, another barn."

Cooler weather suits him

The Jersey Shore forecast calls for cool, overcast weather throughout the weekend, with a chance of showers.

While a disappointment to beach-goers and many racing fans, the weather pattern comes as a relief for trainer Jack Bruner and the New Jersey-bred Kool Humor.

They left behind oppressive heat in Texas, where temperatures soared to 105 degrees.

"We just wanted to get out of the heat," said Bruner, who is making his first visit to Monmouth.

The weather appears to agree with Kool Humor, the longest shot in the Haskell at 20-1.

"He's been a handful in the barn, and getting off the plane he tried to bite me," Bruner said. "He traveled real well."

Stakes shift

The Haskell tops a solid weekend of stakes action at Monmouth.

The race office moved the Colleen Stakes for 2-year-old fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs from Saturday to Sunday to provide six supporting stakes on the Haskell Day card. The Colleen purse was boosted $10,000 to bring it to $60,000.

The transfer of the Colleen left the $50,000 Trenton Stakes for 3-year-old fillies going five furlongs on the turf as the lone stakes on the Saturday card.

The race drew 13, with Lilias Trotter, Six Pack Sally, and Glowing Breeze on the alternate list in the event of defections from the main body of 10.

Royal Dove was an interesting entrant by trainer Bill Perry. He claimed the filly from trainer Norman Pointer for $40,000 on July 5 and will look for an immediate return in this stakes spot.

Royal Dove won her last start going one mile on the turf and shortens up considerably for this race. Jose Velez, Jr., one of the top turf stakes riders at the meet, has the mount.

Leading jockey Joe Bravo, another savvy turf rider, has the call on Our Mariah for leading owner Michael Gill. Our Mariah won her most recent start, a 5 1/2-furlong turf sprint at Laurel.

The Trenton lost a potential runner when Trupon On suffered a chip fracture in the left knee that will require surgical removal. Trainer Tim Hills said he doesn't expect to see her back in action until the Gulfstream Park meeting next winter.

Trupon On won two of six starts this season and ran second in the Crank It Up Stakes on June 21.