06/17/2007 11:00PM

Indy Wind gets new partner


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Indy Wind will have a new pilot Saturday in the bid for his first graded stakes victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park.

Apprentice Mario Madrid will replace the injured Kyle Branch, who was aboard the 5-year-old for a rousing victory here in the Frisk Me Now Stakes on May 28. Indy Wind overcame a 13-length deficit that day to get up by 1 3/4 lengths for his first win in three starts this season.

"He showed a real good burst of speed," said owner-trainer Amy Tarrant. "We need to get him to do that a little sooner. We'd like to see that at the three-eighths pole instead of waiting for the last sixteenth."

Branch is recovering from a broken hand sustained in a post-race fall at Monmouth on June 9. Madrid should be a good fit, even though his five-pound allowance does not apply in stakes. He rode Indy Wind twice in stakes last fall at the Meadowlands, finishing sixth on the turf in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger before switching back to the dirt to win the Alysheba.

"Almost everything I put him on last year seemed to win for me," Tarrant said. "He's got a nice feel for the horse and I like the way he rides.

"Jockeys often take Monday off, but he was here this morning to work this horse. You know that he wants this ride."

Indy Wind went three furlongs in 36.40 seconds, the final tune-up before the race.

"He had a nice breeze, just a little sharpener," Tarrant said.

Indy Wind has always run well at Monmouth with a record of 4-1-1 in 6 races here. He burst on the scene in 2005 with sensational wins in his first two starts, but minor injuries and setbacks have limited his career. The Salvator Mile will be only the 12th start for the horse, who is a poor shipper.

"If we're going to try and break through the graded-stakes barrier, we're going to do it here," Tarrant said.

The Grade 3 Salvator Mile could wind up with a small field. As of last weekend, Monmouth's stakes coordinator, Mike Melendez, had commitments only from Indy Wind, Gottcha Gold and Too Many Toyz. He listed Chatain and Tap Day as possible.

Summer Sting out for two in row

Summer Sting, an impressive winner in her season debut here May 27, looks for another victory Wednesday in the $45,000 allowance optional claiming feature for fillies and mares at six furlongs.

The 5-year-old Summer Sting will face five rivals in the six-furlong race for third-level allowance runners or $50,000 claimers.

"She's doing real good," said owner Gerry Sleeter of his homebred mare. "She's training good, and she came back real good being fresh."

The most interesting aspect of her recent victory was a change in running style. Normally a come-from-behind sprinter, Summer Sting was right in the mix from the break, eventually drawing off to a 3 1/2 -length win to earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 80.

"I don't know what the heck it was," Sleeter said. "Maybe it was because she was fresh. We're not going to try and change anything. We'll let her do what she wants to do."

The strong start to the campaign was a welcome development following a somewhat frustrating 2006 season. Summer Sting was winless in eight races but still managed to earn more than $70,000 in open and New Jersey-bred races.

"Right now, I think she's better that she ever was," Sleeter said. "She's really happy. Maybe something was bugging her before. Whatever it was, I hope it's gone."