06/08/2012 1:34PM

Monmouth: Data Link, Get Stormy ship in for $200,000 Monmouth

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Data Link (left), winning the Maker's 46b Mile in April, may have been hampered by soft turf last time out at Churchill Downs.

There is no racing at Belmont Park the day after the Belmont Stakes, but Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park certainly has a distinct New York flavor.

New York-based Grade 1 winners Data Link and Get Stormy head the list of eight horses entered for the Monmouth, scheduled for 1 1/8 miles on the turf. The race also includes Presious Passion, the 9-year-old gelding who has won 11 stakes and makes the 52nd start of his career.

The Monmouth goes as race 10 on an 11-race card that begins at 12:45 p.m. Eastern and also includes the $60,000 John McSorley at 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Data Link won the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland in April, but finished fifth in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on Derby Day. Though it was Data Link’s first try at 1 1/8 miles, trainer Shug McGaughey said he believes the trip more so than the distance compromised his colt’s chances.

Data Link, ridden by Alex Solis, got bumped soon after the start and was guided to the inside of Churchill’s rain softened turf course. He was stuck in traffic down the backside and was steadied at the eighth pole while finishing 4 1/2 lengths behind loose-on-the-lead winner Little Mike.

“He dropped him over on the rail, the rail wasn’t the place to be and then we got into some trouble a couple of times,” McGaughey said. “The turf was a little bit softer than need be for him. So it just didn’t work out.”

As a son of War Front out of the mare Database – a two-time winner at 1 1/8 miles on dirt – Data Link shouldn’t have a problem negotiating the distance.

“I don’t know how much farther he wants to go, but I don’t think 1 1/8 miles will be a problem,” McGaughey said.

Get Stormy is a Grade 1 winner at 1 1/8 miles. He finished third in this race as the 4-5 favorite last year and enters the race off an uncharacteristically poor ninth-place finish in the Turf Classic.

Tom Bush, the trainer of Get Stormy, didn’t like the trip his horse got that day under Ramon Dominguez.

“He got boxed in, he was down on the inside, it didn’t seem like the inside was the best place to be,” Bush said. “He got bumped around at the half-mile pole and that was the end of him. He’s not used to that kind of scenario, he didn’t respond very well to it.”

Get Stormy has done his best work on the lead, but is unlikely to secure the early advantage with Presious Passion and Get Serious in the field.

“I think he’s proven he doesn’t have to be on the lead,” Bush said. “It’s going to be up to the jockey.”

Eddie Castro will ride Get Stormy.

Presious Passion, makes his second start off a 16-month layoff for trainer Mary Hartmann. He ran seventh in the Elkwood, a one-mile stakes, on May 19.

Roman Tiger, who has won two straight races for trainer Dennis Manning, could be a live longshot in this race. With the appearance of plenty of speed in the field, it should set up his late kick.

Mahubo, Freud’s Honor, and Yummy With Butter complete the field.

Clement looks to remain hot in McSorley

Trainer Christophe Clement is 5 for 7 at Monmouth Park and will send out Varsity in Sunday’s $60,000 John McSorley Stakes at five furlongs on turf.

Varsity, a 5-year-old son of Indian Charlie, came off a seven-month layoff to win a second-level allowance race at Pimlico, holding off a late run from Agnostic, who is also back in this field.

Varsity will likely have to deal with other speed horses Mississippi Man and Ju Jitsu Jax or prove that he can come from off the pace.

“He’s got speed, but he doesn’t have to be on the lead,” Clement said.