08/19/2010 11:37AM

I Want Revenge takes next step in comeback in Iselin

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David Alcosser/NYRA
I Want Revenge, winning the Gotham at Aqueduct in 2009, makes his second start following a length layoff in Saturday's Philip Iselin at Monmouth.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – I Want Revenge passed the first barrier in July, returning from a 15-month layoff to run third in the Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

On Saturday, I Want Revenge tries to prove he still has the winning edge in the Grade 3, $300,000 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park.

I Want Revenge tops a field of six in the 1 1/8-mile race with Joe Bravo aboard the 4-year-old, replacing Joe Talamo, who is sidelined with a fractured wrist sustained in a spill at Del Mar.

I Want Revenge was a steamroller in the spring of 2009, flattening the competition in the Gotham Stakes and the Wood Memorial. Those victories earned him the role of morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby.

That’s where the story paused. I Want Revenge was scratched the morning of the Derby with a leg injury that required surgery and threatened to end his career.

IEAH Stables bought out owner-breeder David Lanzman and turned the colt over to Rick Dutrow for the laborious process of recovery and resumption of training that paid off with the comeback in the Suburban.

“I haven’t been able to do anything to make him better,” Dutrow said. “He came to us the right way. I’ve been following his lead. And, you know, there weren’t any corrections that I needed to make or any adjustments. He’s just come to us in good shape and he’s been in good shape ever since.”

There were a number of spots at Saratoga, including the Whitney and the Woodward, where I Want Revenge could have continued the comeback.

“Well, I figured that he put in a very big run the other day and he needed plenty of time to get over it,” Dutrow said of the Suburban. “So we kind of looked for a two-turn race for him. And, you know, Monmouth Park came up first.

“I liked the timing and I like the two turns, so that’s kind of what we zeroed in on. And he’s ready to run.”

While not on a par with the Grade 1 handicaps at Saratoga, the Iselin drew a solid field that includes Lone Star Park Handicap winner Redding Colliery, Our Edge, Sir Whimsey, Duke of Mischief, and Gone Astray, a five-length winner on July 3 in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Salvator Mile for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey.

“I wanted to keep him away from the heavy heads the best I could this year,” McGaughey said. “I thought his race last month was a big improvement. He’s training really, really well up here. Physically, he’s doing well. We’ll go down there and see if we’re good enough.’’

Redding Colliery has been well-rested by trainer Kiaran McLaughlin since the successful trip to Texas on May 31.

“We were looking to duck Blame and Quality Road and we thought this was a good spot,’’ said McLaughlin, referring to the top two finishers in the Whitney Handicap. “He requires some time in between races. He’s doing well and we’re ready to go.”

◗ Distance is the major factor in the $100,000 Omnibus Stakes, a race for fillies and mares at 1 3/8 miles on the turf that attracted nine runners.

Speak Easy Gal proved she could handle it, winning the 1 1/2-mile Grade 3 Orchid Stakes at Gulfstream in March.

So did Trensa, a neck loser in the 2009 Grade 3 R.G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park at this same 1 3/8 miles.

Totie gained experience in turf routes in her native England.

– additional reporting by David Grening