06/22/2009 12:00AM

Hotstufanthensome back at 9


OCEANPORT, N.J. - While Joey P. continues his recovery from emergency intestinal surgery last week, trainer Ben Perkins Jr. has another veteran with a long history of success at Monmouth Park ready to make his season debut.

Hotstufanthensome, 9, is back in action Wednesday in a $48,000 third-level $75,000 optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.

The veteran has a grass record here of 6-5-1 in 15 starts and comes off another successful year in which he earned $94,638. That figure could have been much higher, but for a neck loss in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes.

In a concession to time, Hotstufanthensome is in for the $75,000 tag.

"What with the wet weather and all, there hasn't been a spot for him before this," Perkins said. "He's a neat old horse, really easy on himself and us. I don't know if he'll ever get back to stakes races, but I know he tries every time he runs."

Trained by Norman Pointer for most his career, Hotstufanthensome was claimed last year for $62,500 by Terri Pompay, who campaigned him through the Monmouth meet. Transferred to the Perkins barn last fall, Hotstufanthensome won the John Henry Stakes at the Meadowlands before closing out the season with an eighth-place finish in an overnight stakes at Aqueduct.

Joe Bravo will ride.

Eddie Castro, the riding star here Sunday with six wins to tie the Monmouth record, also has a mount making his season debut: Media Play.

A Stronach Stables homebred, Media Play is a new addition to Joe Orseno's stable. The 5-year-old gelding has not run since being eased in the Autumn Stakes on the synthetic surface at Woodbine. His finest moment last season was a victory in the Labor Day Stakes at Mountaineer Park.

At 4, Plenty Coups and Marquet Cat are the youngsters in the field. They also are the only runners not carrying the $75,000 claiming tag.

Plenty Coups has turned the corner recently for trainer Barclay Tagg, with 2 wins in the last 3 races. Marquet Cat picked up 2 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts this winter at Tampa Bay Downs.

With rain continuing to plague the meet, all turf races last weekend were switched to the main track. If the problem persists Wednesday, the two main-track-only horses - Sweetnorthernsaint and B.B. Best - will be tough following strong recent dirt efforts.