05/13/2011 1:21PM

Monmouth: Awesome Son returns in Decathlon

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A new era in Monmouth Park kicks off Saturday with an 11-race card topped by the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes.

News broke late Thursday night that Morris Bailey, a longtime horse owner and real estate executive, completed a lease to take control of the track on June 1. The meet that gets underway at 12:50 p.m. Saturday will be the first under his leadership.

The opening day feature is a six-furlong contest featuring several horses familiar to Monmouth fans, including Awesome Son, who won three straight races last summer before shutting down for knee surgery. A chip was discovered as part of the vetting process before a potential sale.

“It killed the deal and we wound up taking the chip out and giving him the winter off in Florida,” said trainer Tim Kelly.

A 4-year-old gelding, Awesome Son has been working strongly at Gulfstream and here for his return.

“He’s just been training great, lights out,” Kelly said. “Now we’re ready to roll.”

Wildcat Brief was a stakes winner here last summer, taking the Icecapade. He finished out the campaign in a pair of stakes at Belmont Park, rallying from far back to get third in the Grade 1 Vosburgh and a fifth in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler.

Like Awesome Son, this will be the 5-year-old Wildcat Brief’s season debut.

“We kept him up here for winter but the weather was so bad he fell a little bit behind,” Perkins said. “He’s been doing good here and he’s ready to go.”