05/11/2012 2:01PM

Monmouth: Deliburnsky fresh to start campaign

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OCEANPORT, N.J. – After Deliburnsky ran third in the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes over the inner track at Aqueduct in January, trainer Tony Wilson decided to take a step back with the 3-year-old New Jersey-bred gelding.

Rather than press on, Wilson opted to give Deliburnsky, the winner of three races, including the Jersey Juvenile by six widening lengths, a break with Monmouth Park on the not-too-distant horizon.

A freshened Deliburnsky returns to action Sunday in the $44,000 second-level optional $32,000 claimer, the featured event on the second day of the Monmouth meet. He faces four rivals in the six-furlong race with regular pilot Pedro Cotto Jr. aboard.

“He’s coming up to this really good,” Wilson said. “He’s been breezing fine. I’m very happy with everything he’s been doing. The time off and the freshening did him a lot of good.”

This race is the first step in a campaign that Wilson has mapped out. The next target is the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds on June 2.

Beyond that Wilson hopes to stretch out Deliburnsky, who has never been beyond six furlongs.

“These next two races are short and then we’re planning something going long,” Wilson said.

Before that, Deliburnsky has to get past this assignment on Sunday.

Cal Nation could be favored in his season debut for trainer Todd Pletcher. Second in the Select Stakes here last summer, Cal Nation was sixth in his most recent effort, the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Sprint at Turfway Park in September.

Needtogetpaid is the veteran of the group. The 6-year-old, the only runner in for the claiming price, is dropping in class after facing third-level competition in Pennsylvania. He has won seven times. His four rivals have combined for a total of nine wins.

Glickman and Yo Koffy complete the field.

◗ Monmouth has added a 50-cent pick three to the betting mix this meet, reducing the base cost of all wagers involving three or more races.

Fifty cents is now the minimum for the pick three, pick four, pick five, and the place pick six.

It takes at least $1 for a win, place, show, daily double, exacta or trifecta wager. Superfectas start at a dime.

◗ Longtime Monmouth trainer Bill Anderson is the new track superintendant this meet.

“For years at every track I went to, I would watch how the racing surface was maintained,” said Anderson. “I asked questions and had my opinions. It was all a learning experience.”

Just as he did for 45 years as a trainer, Anderson rides a pony out on the track every morning to get a feel for the strip.

“I can see for myself if it needs water or if it needs to be graded,” Anderson said.

◗ Trainer John Mazza, a mainstay at Monmouth for over 40 years, is this year’s winner of the track’s Buddy Raines Distinguished Achievement Award for “conduct exemplary for professionalism, integrity and service to thoroughbred racing."