08/03/2006 11:00PM

High Blitz facing toughest task of meet

Email
Bill Denver / EQUI-PHOTOS
Joey P., with Joe Bravo up, wins the Longfellow, one of two stakes victories he has at Monmouth this year going into the Teddy Drone.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - High Blitz faces the biggest challenge of an already-successful summer in the $100,000 Teddy Drone Stakes on Sunday on the Haskell undercard at Monmouth Park.

High Blitz, trained by Justin Nixon for the Stronach Stable, is unbeaten in two starts here: the Wolf Hill Stakes and Mr. Prospector Stakes.

"He hasn't missed here yet," Nixon said. "Hopefully, it will continue. It's going to be the toughest of the three. It will be a true test of his abilities. It's a bunch of nice horses."

The six-furlong race attracted a standout field for one of the most competitive races of the stakes-filled day.

High Blitz will face Joey P., who is unbeaten in eight sprints at Monmouth, and two Grade 1 winners: Bishop Court Hill and Valid Video.

Joey P. looks to bounce back from a tiring sixth in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap at Calder. A 4-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding, Joey P. has already won a pair of Monmouth stakes this year: the John J. Reilly Handicap against statebreds and the Longfellow Stakes.

Bishop Court Hill, trained by Todd Pletcher, won the Grade 1 Carter Handicap in the slop at Aqueduct in April. He most recently ran second in the Iowa Sprint Handicap at Prairie Meadows.

Valid Video, trained by Dennis Manning, will be making his first start since January. The winner of the 2003 Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga, he has been hampered by illness and a torn back muscle since the Breeders' Cup Sprint at the conclusion of that season.

The field also includes Anew, winner of the Grade 2 True North Handicap at Belmont; Kazoo, who captured the Grade 3 Toboggan Handicap at Aqueduct in March; the New Jersey-bred Who's the Cowboy, who has won open stakes; and Maddy's Lion.

Extra Bend 'ready to rock and roll'

Trainer Scott Volk had the $100,000 Jersey Derby in mind for Extra Bend when he claimed him for $50,000 at Aqueduct in March.

Volk has run the gelding three times since, all stakes races. Extra Bend won the Spend a Buck here on the main track, beating Electrify, who is in the Haskell. The other two starts resulted in close second-place finishes in the Woodlawn at Pimlico and the Lamplighter at Monmouth.

Volk has taken a low-key path with Extra Bend, but that could change with a win in the Jersey Derby, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

"We're ready to rock and roll," Volk said "It gets exciting now that it's up to a hundred grand. He's doing real good and he should run real well.

"If we win this, we'll make a decision. Maybe we'll try the big boys" in the Grade 3, $500,000 Kent at Delaware Park on Sept. 2.

Also in the Jersey Derby is Rock Lobster, who bested Extra Bend in the Woodlawn. He most recently finished 11th in the $1 million Colonial Turf Cup at Colonial Downs.

Irish Gentleman will be making only his fourth start and his turf debut. He finished fourth in a Grade 3 Leonard Richards Stakes that included Awfully Smart and Little Cliff, both of whom are running in the Haskell.

* Emerald Earrings looks to extend her winning streak in Monmouth stakes to three in the $100,000 Lady's Secret for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles against Capeside Lady, who won the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Breeders' Cup Handicap here last summer.

* Pretty Imposing, an 11-length winner in Monmouth's off-the-turf Klassy Briefcase Stakes, tops the $100,000 Regret for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

* Brucker's Brother, claimed for $40,000 in his most recent race, debuts for trainer Juan Serey in the $65,000 Lincroft Handicap for New Jersey-breds at one mile and 70 yards.