09/08/2011 11:37AM

Monmouth Park: D’cats Meow sharp for step up to Mongo Queen


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Monmouth Park heads into the fall portion of the schedule on Saturday with a 10-race card topped by the $60,000 Mongo Queen Stakes for filly and mare sprinters.

Monmouth will race on Saturday and Sunday through Nov. 6 with additional cards on Oct. 10 (Columbus Day) and Nov. 4 (Breeders’ Cup). First post remains 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

No rescheduling decision has been issued for the three days lost during the summer portion of the meet due to inclement weather.

D’cats Meow enters the Mongo Queen in the sharpest form of the six runners in the six-furlong race.

A 4-year-old trained by Jane Cibelli, D’cats Meow has won three straight, including the last two following a claim for $20,000.

Cibelli stepped the new acquisition right into allowance company and D’cats Meow responded with a pair of victories.

“She’s doing very well,” Cibelli said. “It’s a bit of a leap from a conditioned allowance company to a stakes. I have to think she’s worth quite a bit of money, because of who she is – a half-sister to Pomeroy’s Pistol. That’s the idea. Get some black type on her and she’ll be worth a lot more money. She doesn’t look completely out of her depth in here.”

Owners Stretch Run Racing were on the hunt for a horse and Cibelli zeroed in D’cats Meow after doing a bit of homework.

“I looked at her on paper,” Cibelli said. “I looked at replays. Whenever I claim a horse, I think: Can I change something? When I claimed her, I thought I’d really like to take her off the pace. It seemed like her whole life, they were just sending, sending, sending. I wondered what she would do if she dropped off the pace a little bit. Both times I ran her, she did that and it worked well.”

Paco Lopez, aboard for the two wins since the Cibelli claim, has the return call.

Hour Glass, winner of the 2010 Grade 2 Vagrancy Handicap at Belmont Park, makes a 10th straight stakes appearance here for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Extended meet works to Cibelli’s disadvantage

Cibelli is in position to become the first woman to capture a Monmouth training title.

Heading into the final portion of the season, she holds a 25-21 lead over Scott Volk.

Cibelli feels they moved the goalposts on her this year. Traditionally, the Monmouth meet ended in September. Last year it extended into November and was split into two seasons: a summer meet and a fall meet with separate titles awarded.

After Labor Day, Cibelli thought she had already clinched the title, only to find out the season was considered one extended meet in 2011.

“All of a sudden this year, they have decided it will go all the way through to November,” Cibelli said. “It’s a bit of a kick in the pants. Here I am thinking I’m leading trainer, and then I’m not with two more months to go.”

It wasn’t good news for Cibelli who finds her racing stock tends to fade in the fall with a number of grass horses who face diminished opportunities this time of year.

Looking ahead, Cibelli will run a division at Gulfstream Park for the first time this winter in addition to her usual base at Tampa Bay Downs.

◗ It turns out jockey Channing Hill suffered a fractured left ankle in the Monday spill that left Carlos Marquez Jr. with a broken left clavicle. While Marquez was immediately taken to a local hospital for treatment, Hill remained at Monmouth and rode the balance of the card. The injury was detected later.