07/03/2013 2:12PM

Monmouth Park: Tune Me In should rebound in Elkwood Stakes

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
All five of Tune Me In's career wins have come on the Monmouth Park turf, including a score in last year's Grade 3 Cliff Hanger.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Bruce Alexander feels that Tune Me In was the wrong horse in the wrong spot when he ran the gray gelding in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes last month. The $75,000 Elkwood Stakes at one mile on turf at Monmouth Park on Friday should be a much better fit.

“I like the way it looks,” Alexander said. “It’s certainly not a pushover for him. He’s going to have to run his best, or damn close to it.”

Tune Me In’s best is usually pretty good at Monmouth, where the 6-year-old is 5-5-3 in 15 races over the course. He was terrific here last summer, winning a pair of Grade 3 stakes: the Oceanport and the Cliff Hanger.

Tune Me In started the season in fine form, running a close second in Monmouth’s Grade 3 Red Bank in May. Then came the 1 1/8-mile Monmouth Stakes, a definite hike in class. Tune Me In ran with the early leaders before fading to seventh.

[MONMOUTH PARK: Get PPs, watch Friday's full card live]

The distance might have been just beyond his range, as Tune Me In has done his best work at a mile to 1 1/16 miles.

“The last race, he had some adversity,” Alexander said. “From the distance, to a little softness to the turf, to quite a lot of pace. It was a bad scenario before, during, and after the race, and he ran back too quick, following the effort he put in the first race after a long layoff. It was an excusable race.”

On paper, this looks like a nice rebound spot. The one mile is ideal, and Tune Me In has had almost a month to regroup.

Gabriel Saez rides as Tune Me In faces six rivals. Small Town Talk, Warrioroftheroses, and Ponzi Scheme are additional runners entered for the main track only.

The main competition for Tune Me In appears to be Street Game and Wrote, the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner.

Street Game, the dominant winner of the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes on a yielding Belmont Park course in 2011, is a veteran of New York-bred grass stakes races for trainer Phil Serpe. He ran fourth most recently in the statebred Kingston Stakes at Belmont.

Wrote should benefit from the Monmouth Stakes, his first race in almost a year. It was only his second U.S. start and his debut for trainer Andrew Mitchell after a transfer from Aidan O’Brien’s training yard in Ireland.