07/06/2012 2:47PM

Monmouth: Done Talking switches back to dirt for Long Branch

Barbara D. Livingston
Illinois Derby winner Done Talking has been freshened since his last start.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Hamilton Smith hasn’t caught Haskell fever but that could change if Done Talking runs well in the $100,000 Long Branch Stakes for 3-year-olds on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

The Long Branch is the final local prep for the $1 million Haskell on July 29. The first two Long Branch finishers traditionally receive invitations to the meet’s premier event.

Smith, stabled at Laurel Park, isn’t looking that far ahead. The goal now is returning Done Talking to positive form following a demanding spring.

It started in the Gotham at Aqueduct, where Done Talking was never a factor. The picture brightened at Hawthorne, where Done Talking, way back in the pack, made up 13 lengths to win the Illinois Derby. That victory furnished the graded stakes earnings to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.

Once again, Done Talking dropped far back. His rally from 19th only carried him to a 14th-place finish.

“He just didn’t run his race,” Smith said. “They had the racetrack awfully fast and he acted like he didn’t particularly care for it. Otherwise, it just looked like they whupped him.”

Smith switched up the game plan for the colt’s most recent start, putting him on the turf for the J.W. Murphy Stakes on the Preakness undercard.

He ran evenly to be seventh in his grass debut, beaten less than five lengths.

“He ran okay,” Smith said. “We probably should have waited a little longer to try the grass coming out of the Derby. It wasn’t the smartest move I ever made, but he trained on the turf at Laurel a few times and seemed to get over it real well.”

After the Pimlico race, the blood work on Done Talking showed some issues required treatment. He is now ready to run, following several sharp works at Laurel.

“The last couple of works have been pretty good, back to what we wanted,” Smith said. “Everything is back and it looks like he’s doing fine right now.”

The biggest issue for Done Talking could be running style. While Monmouth is not as speed biased as in some past years, it’s hard to win if you spot a field a dozen lengths. It will be Sheldon Russell’s job to keep Done Talking within reasonable range.

“The game plan is not to be that far back,” Smith said. “Hopefully it will be six or eight lengths and he’ll make his run.”

The field also includes Window Boy on a three-race winning streak; My Adonis looking to rebound from an eighth-place finish in the Belmont Stakes; and Forward March, a $2 million yearling purchase only just starting to tap his potential.

Soild field for Mr. Prospector

The $75,000 Mr. Prospector, the supporting feature, is the prep for the Teddy Drone Stakes on the Haskell undercard.

The six-furlong race drew a very solid field that includes The Hunk, an impressive winner of the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds and Justin Phillip, beaten less than a length in the True North Handicap at Belmont.

Royal Currier, recovered from the back ailment that forced him to scratch from the Don LeVine Memorial at Parx Racing, swings back into action as does J J’s Lucky Train, last year’s Bay Shore winner who was fourth in the Haskell. He joined Jane Cibelli’s barn this season after Bill Anderson closed his stable to become Monmouth’s track supervisor.