10/17/2006 11:00PM

Humoristic back at scene of last win


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Humoristic had the last laugh in 2005 Violet Stakes, pulling off the upset at 28-1.

The 5-year-old returns to the Meadowlands Racetrack on Friday night to defend her title in the Grade 3, $150,000 race for fillies and mares on the turf.

Humoristic, who has not won since that upset, faces seven rivals, including stablemate Art Fan, in the final graded stakes of the meet that runs through Nov. 11. No Sleep and Phyllis Sassy Girl will run on the main track only.

"She ran good up there last year," trainer Hamilton Smith said from his barn at Laurel. "We're going back to take another swing at it."

Smith has Humoristic on the same schedule as last year. She ran sixth in the 2005 Noble Damsel Breeders' Cup Handicap at Belmont Park before returning four weeks later to capture the Violet with a decisive move turning for home that produced a three-length victory.

Most recently, Humoristic was sixth again in the Noble Damsel.

Deja vu, all over again?

"Let's hope so," Smith said. "If this works out just right, we'll do it again next year. She just hasn't had any luck getting into the winner's circle. She's been running against some pretty solid horses all year long."

Humoristic has run six times this year, all stakes, with a second and three thirds. She should be sharp following a bullet five-furlong work in 1:01.20 at Laurel on Oct. 14.

"She's training good," Smith said. "That was a solid work. We sat on her to the final quarter and let her finish up good."

Brunilda has been finishing her races well, scoring stakes wins at Monmouth in her last two outings: the Politely and the off-the-turf Eatontown Handicap in the slop.

A 6-year-old trained by Stanley Hough, Brunilda has had a very solid season, hitting the board in 6 of 7 starts to bank $193,830. Brunilda made a strong late run in last year's Violet to get third, 3 1/2 lengths behind Humoristic.

Like Humoristic, Smart N Classy is winless in six tries this season. Smart N Classy, a 6-year-old New Jersey-bred, most recently ran fourth, 12 1/4 lengths behind Brunilda, in the Eatontown. She ran 10th in the Violet last year.

* Trainer Dennis Manning equips Elusive Fox with blinkers for the $55,000 Comet Stakes for 2-year-olds going six furlongs. The Comet will be the colt's first start in open company after two races against New York-breds.