06/03/2011 1:10PM

Monmouth Park: Awesome Son has tightener behind him


OCEANPORT, N.J. – With a race under his belt, Awesome Son should be sharper Sunday in the $75,000 Longfellow Stakes at Monmouth Park.

He had not run since last July, when he contested the Decathlon Stakes here on opening day. Trainer Tim Kelly had hoped that a series of solid works would have the 4-year-old gelding ready for a winning effort.

As usual, Awesome Son bounded right to the lead. He lacked a stretch punch, though, finishing 7 3/4 lengths behind This Ones For Phil.

Kelly is more optimistic about this spot, where Awesome Son has post 2 in the eight-horse field going six furlongs.

“The last one, he just got a little tired in the stretch from his early efforts,” Kelly said. “As ready as you think they are, some of them still need one. He ran his eyeballs out. He just couldn’t get it done the last sixteenth.

“He came out of it great. Hopefully, we can turn the tables and get the job done this time. He’s doing super.”

Kelly also likes this lineup better than the Decathlon.

“This looks like a pretty good spot,” Kelly said. “It’s not near as tough as the last one. We just need to get a good break. He’s not one to mess around. He just gets out and goes.”

That brazen speed carried Awesome Son to three straight wins last summer, including two at Monmouth. He went to the sidelines with a knee chip that required surgical removal following an overnight stakes victory at Penn National where he hit a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Usual rider Francisco Maysonett will be aboard.

Sean Avery, the horse not the hockey player, will break just to Awesome Son’s inside on the rail.

A 5-year-old gelding, Sean Avery will be making only his eighth career start. He has been highly effective when he runs, with a record of 4-0-2.

Sean Avery is on a two-race winning streak with victories at Gulfstream Park and Parx Racing. Joe Bravo, Monmouth’s leading jockey, rides for trainer Allen Iwinski.

The race will be the Monmouth debut of Whistle Pig, a veteran of the Pennsylvania-bred sprint stakes wars. A 7-year-old gelding trained by Andrew Carter, Whistle Pig has earned $873,278 with a record of 16-15-11 from 52 starts.

Former Monmouth regular Dale Beckner will ride.

On the Vineyard, Hillswick, Mannington, He’s So Chic and Super Robusto complete the field.