05/22/2009 11:00PM

Joey P. back to winning ways


Joey P. bounced back from a recent illness with a dazzling victory Saturday in the $60,000 John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey breds at Monmouth Park.

The 7-year-old gelding started the season with a sixth-place finish in the Toboggan Handicap on March 7 at Aqueduct. He came down with a respiratory infection following the race, and that shut him down.

Given time to recover, Joey P. ($4.40) bounced back with an 8 1/4 length win over 101-1 longshot Hermosillo in the return to his favorite track. The time was 1:08.62 for the six furlongs.

After stalking the early duel between Unwritten and Flirtatious Smile, Joey P. and jockey Joe Bravo took charge turning for home and pulled away to the rousing cheers of the holiday weekend crowd of 10,350.

"That was real impressive," trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. said. 'We're really lucky that he came back so good. He got real sick on us, with a 104 fever for about three days. Obviously he's fine now."

The win was 13th at Monmouth for Joey P. and his second straight in the Reilly. He continues to work his way toward $1 million in career earnings. His bankroll now stands at $973,472.

The next race, according to Perkins, will likely be $200,000 Charles Town Invitational Dash on June 20, a race he won last year.

Get Serious ($19.20) ran one of the fastest turf miles in Monmouth history, 1:32.78, to take the $70,000 Elkwood Stakes.

The 5-year-old gelding improved to 4 for 6 on Monmouth's grass course. Pablo Fragoso was aboard for trainer John Forbes as Get Serious took charge on the backstretch and held off Carson Hall by 2 3/4 lengths with Silver Tree third.

"He's also won in the slop," Forbes said. "He's one of those horses you love to have."l