06/17/2011 12:42PM

Monmouth Park: Royal Currier hitting the turf

Alyssa Spakowski/Equi-Photo
Royal Currier, with Stewart Elliott riding, wins the Southampton at Parx

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Royal Currier, a very productive claim, tries turf for the first time on Sunday in the $65,000 Anderson Fowler Stakes for 3-year-olds at Monmouth Park.

It could be a whole new dimension for a gelding with solid credentials on the main track.

The Anderson Fowler and the $65,000 Bernie Dowd Handicap for New Jersey breds are the main attractions on Father’s Day, usually one of the best-attended days of the meet. The 12-race card starts at 12:50 p.m.

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Royal Currier faces eight rivals in the 5 1/2-furlong dash from Monmouth’s inner turf chute. Joe Bravo, the meet’s leading turf rider with 7 wins from his first 28 grass starts, will be aboard.

Royal Currier was claimed from a maiden race for $20,000 here last September. Mat Stables and trainer Mike Farro, who handles the Monmouth division for his wife, Patricia, were looking at a pair of potential maiden claims last fall. They zeroed in on the filly, but there were multiple entries, and they lost out in a shake.

So they turned their attention to Royal Currier. Again, another shake, but it went their way this time.

Royal Currier has won four times since then, including a pair of overnight stakes over the winter.

He ran well in the last two outings, both at seven furlongs: a fourth in the Grade 3 Bay Shore at Aqueduct after breaking through the gate, and a half-length loss to Little Drama most recently in the Philmont Stakes at Parx Racing on April 26.

“He ran so big in Philadelphia,” Farro said. “I don’t think he could have run a better race, but I think the seven-eighths just got to him.”

Royal Currier came down with a mild virus after the Philmont, which kept him on the shelf until this spot.

Now comes the turf test, at a shorter distance.

“We always thought the turf was an option.” Mike Farro said. “He had him in Florida and were going to run him on the grass down there. We worked him over the course, and it went really well.”

Instead, Royal Currier took an ambitious swing in the Grade 2 Hutcheson where he finished sixth.

If all goes well in the Anderson Fowler, Farro will consider running Royal Currier back in the Grade 3, $150,000 Jersey Shore Stakes on July 3.

Uncle Otto facing elders

The Bernie Dowd, at one mile and 70 yards for New Jersey-breds, attracted most of the old, familiar faces like Hermosillo, Hop Skip and Away and Evenings End, the defending champ.

And one interesting newcomer: Uncle Otto.

A 3-year-old gelding, Uncle Otto will be facing his elders for the first time. He was a solid second most recently against open company in the Spend A Buck Stakes.

“I was happy with his performance there,” said trainer Skip Einhorn. “I do think Otto is improving. It took him a little time to figure things out. And he’s young. He’s a May foal, so he’s really young.”