05/30/2007 12:00AM

Heed Frankel's first local starter


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Bobby Frankel makes an earlier than usual meet debut Friday at Monmouth Park in the featured $40,000 second-level allowance for fillies and mares.

Silk Queen, the first Frankel runner of the meet, faces five rivals in the six-furlong race. One race later, Frankel has Ultimate Event on the also-eligible list.

In recent years, Frankel arrived later in the meet with a small contingent after Churchill Downs closed. Although few in numbers, the Frankel runners were a force, compiling an 8-3-3 record from 18 starters here last year.

This season, Frankel will be a substantial presence throughout the meet, remaining through the Breeders' Cup in late October. his assistant, Chad Brown, already has 30 horses under his care here with 10 more on the way.

A key to past success was sending the right horses to the Jersey Shore.

"The last couple of years, Bobby did a great job picking out horses that fit for me here," Brown said "Once again, he's picked out a good group of horses.

"It's a good mix. I have some older horses, some horses coming from California this week, and the last wave will come from Keeneland. He's got a good plan, I think."

As for Silk Queen, Brown calls the 4-year-old "an allowance filly who is doing good."

"She ran pretty good last time for me at Churchill," he said. "She fits here."

Silk Queen most recently was second in a six-furlong allowance after setting the pace. She came to hand over the winter at the Fair Grounds, winning her maiden by 14 3/4 lengths followed by a front-running allowance win.

Trainer Todd Pletcher sends out the horse to beat, G City Gal, in her season debut. Although only 2 for 9, G City Gal hit the board four times last year in graded stakes.

Also in the field are Sinister Deance, April Storm, Solar Powered, and Disco Shaker.

Cable Boy local hope for Haskell

It's been a long time - all the way back to Skip Away in 1996 - since a Monmouth-based horse won the track's premier race, the $1 million Haskell Invitational for 3-year-olds, scheduled this year for Aug. 5.

Cable Boy has a long way to go, but trainer John Forbes already has a case of Haskell fever.

Cable Boy, a $23,000 yearling purchase, has had only two starts, both at this meet, and he dazzled in both. On Saturday, Cable Boy ran the one mile and 70 yards in a track-record 1:38.78 while drawing away by 4 1/4 lengths in the first-level allowance race.

"He wasn't expensive, and from the start he acted like he could really run," said Forbes, five times the leading trainer here. His horses here this year run in the name of his longtime assistant Pat McBurney.

Cable Boy's next scheduled start is the $60,000 Coronado's Quest Stakes, the first of two Monmouth preps - along with the $150,000 Long Branch Stakes on July 14 - leading to the Haskell.

Volk on a roll, absent Extra Bend

Trainer Scott Volk was brimming with confidence heading into opening day at Monmouth. So far, his horses have backed him up.

Volk is off to a hot start at 4 for 7, and in a third-place tie in the standing, with Kelly Breen.

"I expected things to go that way," Volk said.

He has done it so far without his big horse, Extra Bend, who should be returning soon from knee surgery.

Extra Bend was a sharp claim for $50,000 at Aqueduct last year from trainer Anthony Dutrow. Volk ran the gelding four times in stakes for 3-year-olds, and Extra Bend responded with a win, two seconds, and a third.

His final start of the year came at Monmouth in the Jersey Derby on the turf on the Haskell Day card. Pinched back badly at the break, Extra Bend made a strong late run to be third, beaten only a head.

Extra Bend came out of the race with bone chips in his left knee that were surgically removed.

Volk gave Extra Bend extended rehabilitation time, and he has been a regular lately on Monmouth's workout tab. Most recently he worked five furlongs in 1:02.60 on May 25.

"He's been working lights out," Volk said. "Everything is looking really good. He should be in the entries very soon."

Volk is looking for a third-level allowance race for the comeback. If that goes well, Extra Bend will step up again to stakes competition.

* Agent Joe Rosen is now booking mounts for Jose Velez Jr. in addition to Stewart Elliott.