07/13/2011 12:59PM

Monmouth Park: Dabnabit lands in more realistic spot


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Luis Carvajal Jr. came to aid of the Monmouth Park race office when he entered Dabnabit in the Mr. Prospector Stakes on July 4.

Carvajal hopes that good deed is rewarded on Friday in the feature race, a third-level optional $65,000 claimer where Dabnabit faces eight rivals in a six furlong sprint that includes such very familiar local names as Joey P. and Mannington.

The Mr. Prospector was stuck on four quality runners – Roaring Lion, Sean Avery, Fabulous Strike, and Wildcat Brief – but needed one more entrant to make it go. Carvajal came through with Dabnabit, winner of the John J. Reilly Handicap for New Jersey-breds in his previous start.

“We looked at this way, it was a five-horse field,” Carvajal said. “You’re not going to hurt your horse running in a race like that. It’s not like the horse is getting banged around in a 10-horse field. It’s a horse race and you just never know.”

The Mr. Prospector was the equivalent of a brisk workout. Dabnabit charged to the front and locked into a fierce battle for the lead through fractions of 21.87 and 44.31 seconds. When it was clear that Dabnabit was overmatched, Pablo Fragoso eased him home.

“He did what we thought he would do, going for the lead,” Carvajal said. “It was a tough race but the main thing is he came back good after the race. He’s feeling really good.”

This is a logical spot for Dabnabit. The next New Jersey-bred sprint stakes is far distant for the GJ Stable runner: the Colts Neck Handicap on Aug. 21.

“We need to run him in this kind of condition,” Carvajal said. “My owner loves this horse and I love this horse. We don’t want to run him for a claiming tag.”

Joey P. is one of seven in the field carrying the tag. Now 9, Joey P. is looking to rebound from a poor effort in the Reilly, fading to last while Dabnabit scored the win. He has won more than $1 million, most of it here with a record of 13-7-1 in 27 local starts.

Joe Bravo rides from the outside post.

Mannington came off the shelf to dead heat for second in the mud last month.

Trainer David Fawkes sends out the uncoupled duo of Stormin Bud and Wildcat Frankie, who both posted wins here last season.