07/11/2006 12:00AM

Horse of the day - July 12


Race 5 - Monmouth Park
6 Furlongs
Maiden Special Weight
3-year-olds and upward
Purse $36,000.

Diamond Stripes doesn't need to be a superstar to win first-out at Monmouth on Wednesday. He is cross-entered in Belmont's second race, but this is a far easier spot, and the gray colt should show good early speed from his inside post. A full brother to Grade 2 winner Summer Book (also a debut winner), Diamond Stripes goes out for the potent Richard Dutrow Jr. barn. Dutrow is 20-100 with a $2.16 ROI over the last five years with horses debuting without Lasix. Diamond Stripes sold for $95,000 as a weanling before reselling for a whopping $340,000 as a yearling. He shows a bullet workout on June 19 at Monmouth, and the June 27 gate work matches up with Dutrow's Better Get Busy, a 3-year-old gelding that recently finished fourth at Belmont in a 50K starter allowance with a 79 Beyer. Odds of 8-5 or better seem fair on this intriguing newcomer.

Handicappers interested in playing exotics may use Atlantic Penn. The son of Stormy Atlantic will make the important third start of the form cycle after breaking poorly here two weeks ago. He chased a favored winner that day, and can do better in this spot.

Exit Left and Goin' to Battle should be used on deeper tickets. The former removes the blinkers, and shows solid workouts for this, his second start of the form cycle. He has decent early speed, and shouldn't be too far away when they swing into the stretch. Goin' to Battle failed against maiden claimers last time out, but that was his first start since last October, and he should be sharper for this race. He also has some speed, and should be clear of traffic trouble breaking from the outside post.

1. Diamond Stripes
2. Atlantic Penn
3. Exit Left