08/15/2012 2:55PM

Monmouth Park: J J’s Lucky Train in realistic spot, but not an easy one

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Nikki Sherman Photography
J J’s Lucky Train not this year shown the form of his terrific 3-year-old campaign.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - After 12 consecutive stakes appearances, J J’s Lucky Train gets class relief Friday in the $46,000 allowance feature at Monmouth Park.

He didn’t exactly land in a soft spot.

The third-level $60,000 optional claimer is one of the best dirt sprints of the meet aside from the stakes.

The feature is one of three allowances on the 10-race card that starts at 12:45 p.m. Eastern.

J J’s Lucky Train had a terrific 3-year-old campaign last season, earning more than $330,000 while capturing the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct. He was fourth in the $1 million Haskell Invitational, Monmouth’s premier event.

He changed barns over the winter when Bill Anderson closed his stable to become Monmouth’s track superintendant. J J’s Lucky Train joined Jane Cibelli’s stable and was freshened after running third in Aqueduct’s Rise Jim Stakes in January.

This will be the third start of the comeback after he ran sixth in a pair of stakes behind Royal Currier and Raging Six, the top sprinters on the grounds.

His Beyer Speed Figures for the two comeback efforts were 90 and 91, comparable with his better efforts last season against 3-year-olds.

J J’s Lucky Train has not yet elevated his Beyers to close the gap against more seasoned company.

Hence the class drop, and the $60,000 claiming price.

“He looks good in this spot,” said Cibelli, locked in a neck-and-neck battle with Eddie Plesa Jr. for the training lead. “He was very tough last season against straight 3-year-olds, but the reality is, he hasn’t won since last April. It’s time to win a race.”

So Cibelli hunted for an easier spot.

“He was getting his head hammered in stakes,” Cibelli said. “He can’t beat Raging Six. He can’t beat Royal Currier. That’s just how it is.”

While escaping the top local sprinters, J J’s Lucky Train faces seven solid rivals in the six-furlong race, including Well Spelled, the lone 3-year-old in the lineup, who captured the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes here in mid July.

Among the more experienced runners, Tommy’s Memory returns to Monmouth for the first time since an allowance victory in November 2010. He posted a career-best 100 Beyer most recently in a July 4 win at Finger Lakes.

Bet the Power will be looking to turn the tables after being disqualified from an overnight stakes victory at Delaware Park.

The richest allowance of the day is the $57,500 third-level $30,000 claimer for New Jersey breds, where Javerre is the one to beat in the six furlong race.

A 3-year-old gelding trained at Parx Racing by Cal Lynch, Javerre is 3 for 4 in his career, including a 3-for-3 mark at Monmouth against statebreds.

After winning his debut in late May, Javerre reeled off consecutive allowance wins here before heading to Saratoga, where he missed by a neck in his first career defeat.

Naples Bay tops the $44,000 second-level $32,000 claimer for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf.