08/22/2013 1:35PM

Monmouth Park: Omnibus distance will tell the tale

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Tom Keyser
Seanchai has run once at the Monmouth meet, finishing fourth going one mile.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – The $60,000 Omnibus Stakes, Saturday’s feature at Monmouth Park, poses an interesting challenge for the eight fillies and mares entered for 1 3/8 miles on the turf.

Most are unproven at the distance and the three-turn contest will help determine which of the runners are the genuine stayers over an extended distance.

Seanchai owns the lone victory in the field at the distance, a pace­setting first-level allowance score in January at Gulfstream Park for trainer Todd Pletcher. A 4-year-old, Seanchai has run once at the meet, finishing fourth going one mile.

Chris DeCarlo will be aboard for Pletcher, who has three stakes wins here his season, one behind the leader, Eddie Plesa Jr.

The consistent Explainable will be making her second straight stakes appearance for trainer Arnaud Delacour. She ran third most recently in the off-the-turf R.G. Dick Memorial going 1 1/4 miles at Delaware Park, her first race on dirt.

“She’s training very well,” Delacour said. “We’re looking forward to trying her over the trip, the mile and three-eighths. She should like it. I thought she ran a fair race on the dirt. We’re excited about this race and we’ll see if she can step up.”

Unlike Seanchai, Explainable figures to rate well off the early pace. In the Dick, she ran with the leaders through crawlingly slow fractions in a compact five-horse field.

The Omnibus should offer her a chance to relax early before unleashing her usually potent stretch kick.

“She was a little closer to the lead last time, but they were also going way slower than the pace she usually has going a mile and a sixteenth and a mile and an eighth,” Delacour said. “They were pretty much all bunched together. Now we want to see her back on the turf, going this long.”

Vicki Oliver, a former mainstay at Monmouth, ships in Rare Event from her current base at Keeneland. Rare Event rallied for an allowance win at Indiana Downs most recently.

The combination of jockey Joe Bravo and trainer Christophe Clement is a key factor in any Monmouth grass race. They team up with Tabreed, a first-level allowance winner here in June before finishing a close-up third at Saratoga.

Thicket, Christmas Angel, Valiant Girl, and Parranda complete the field.

Novak honored

Everett “Ebby” Novak has been named the 2013 recipient of the Virgil “Buddy” Raines Distinguished Achievement Award.

Since 1996, the Raines Award honors long-standing members of the Monmouth racing community who demonstrate professionalism, integrity, and service to the sport.

Novak, an owner and breeder for more than 25 years under the banner of New Farm, has developed a number of top runners, including Conveyor, Appealing Skier, and Wildcat Heir. Novak recently won the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes with Rainbow Heir, a son of Wildcat Heir.