06/17/2004 11:00PM

Laudati shoots for stakes


OCEANPORT, N.J. - After 18 years as an assistant to Gary Contessa, Kim Laudati has ventured out on her own.

It can be a cold and competitive world for a trainer setting up shop for the first time. Laudati, with a little help from Pat and Frank Generazio, could be poised to get her first stakes victory with Cocktailsandreams in the $60,000 Politely Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles on the grass at Monmouth Park on Sunday.

A stakes win would be a great way to tell the world a new barn is open for business.

Cocktailsandreams hit a patch of tough luck this season, especially in back-to-back allowance races at Gulfstream Park. The 7-year-old mare was third, beaten a neck, and came right back to miss by less than a length when jockey Pat Day lost the whip.

She most recently ran fourth, only two lengths behind the winner, in the Hollywood Wildcat Breeders' Cup Handicap on May 1 at Calder.

"This filly is such a hard-knocker with such bad luck," said Laudati. "Every time we've had an easy race, she's missed it because of abscesses in her feet that we've been fighting. Right now, she's sound, the foot is cold, and we're ready to roll."

The Generazios, longtime owners and trainers, have been instrumental in helping Laudati make the transition to training on her own. Laudati is assisting the Generazios with their string and is the trainer of record for some of their horses, including Cocktailsandreams.

She also has horses for outside clients at a separate barn, located diagonally across from the Generazio stable.

"Pat and Frank have given me this opportunity," said Laudati. "It has opened up a couple of other doors."

Laudati is learning it is a different game when you are the boss.

"When you're an assistant trainer, it's very easy to sit back and make that second guess on what the trainer tells you," said Laudati. "As the trainer, you're on the hot seat. All the pressure is on you."

Among the other Politely contenders, Constant Touch is on the biggest roll. A 4-year-old filly trained by Vicki Oliver, Constant Touch has won three straight and makes her stakes debut.

Trainer Bill Mott, always a prominent factor in Monmouth stakes, ships down Noisette from Belmont Park. She was second by a half-length in the 1 1/4-mile Sabin Stakes at Belmont on May 12.

NJ Devil loves Monmouth

Trainer Kelly Breen can see the difference when NJ Devil returns to Monmouth.

"He seems to really enjoy Monmouth Park," said Breen. "His whole demeanor changes. He gets here and he's happy. He gallops around here much nicer than he did all winter long."

NJ Devil's love of the Jersey Shore shows in his record. The 5-year-old chestnut gelding has never finished out of the money in eight Monmouth starts.

NJ Devil gets another chance to extend the streak Sunday in the $60,000 Lincroft Stakes for New Jersey-breds going one mile.

He perked up immediately once back at Monmouth. He registered a bullet workout of 34.20 seconds for three furlongs on May 22, and followed that up with strong rally to get third in the six-furlong John J. Reilly Handicap seven days later.

"He was really coming at the end of that race," said Breen. "Chris DeCarlo jumped off and said he just needed a little more distance."