08/30/2013 3:26PM

Monmouth: Plesa has 2-year-old stakes covered

Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Yes I'm Lucky defeats stablemate Run for Logistics in the Tyro, a turf prep for the Sapling.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Eddie Plesa Jr. hopes to cap a very successful summer at Monmouth Park with a pair of stakes wins on Sunday in the meet’s premier races for 2-year-olds.

Plesa is well positioned with two strong contenders in both the Grade 3 Sapling, and the Sorority for fillies. The six-furlong races, each worth $100,000, are the final major stakes of a season that concludes on Oct. 6.

Plesa saddles Yes I’m Lucky, unbeaten in three starts, and Run for Logistics in the Sapling. The colts ran one-two in the Tyro Stakes, the Sapling prep run on the turf last month.

Flay Mignon and Pray a Novena are Plesa’s hopefuls in the Sorority. Flay Mignon captured the Colleen, the Sorority prep that was run on the grass.

Plesa’s four juveniles, all separate betting interests, could put an exclamation point on a meet that could have turned sour when Itsmyluckyday suffered a season-ending injury in the Pegasus Stakes in June. The loss of a top colt who had finished second in the Preakness would be a tough blow for most barns to absorb.

But the Plesa crew shook off the disappointment to produce their finest year in New Jersey. Plesa has been atop the trainer standings for most of the meet. He headed into the Labor Day weekend with a four-win advantage over Jorge Navarro, with Ramon Moya eight back in third.

If the lead holds, Plesa will have his first Monmouth title, snapping Jane Cibelli’s two-year reign.

“It’s like a perfect storm,” Plesa said. “It’s certainly something I’m aware of. Is it something I would do anything to accomplish? No. I’ve been in this position before. We’ve won some titles and we’ve been very close on others. I’ve never sacrificed horses to get there.”

The biggest obstacle for Plesa is the composition of his barn. He has lots of allowance runners and higher level claimers who might not get opportunities as Monmouth cuts back to a two-day schedule (Saturday and Sunday) after Labor Day. His closest pursuers have a deeper supply of cheaper horses who figure to find spots.

“I have a whole list of horses sitting on wins who don’t have races in the final condition book,” Plesa said. “That said, we’ve made a tremendous amount of money here. The horses have run well here.”

Yes I’m Lucky has run well everywhere. After posting a maiden win at Monmouth, Yes I’m Lucky shipped to Calder to capture the Frank Gomez Memorial before returning to New Jersey for a winning turf debut in the Tyro.

“I haven’t had a lot of luck with Yes It’s Trues on the turf,” Plesa said. “He’s certainly the exception. We know he’s a nice horse. This race will probably be his toughest test. Our other horse, Run for Logistics, will also be a tough horse in the race.”

The Sapling field also includes Debt Ceiling, winner of the Grade 3 Bashford Manor in the slop at Churchill Downs and All in Blue, fourth in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga after a stumble at the start.

Plesa feels Flay Mignon, 2 for 2, doesn’t get proper respect as a New Jersey-bred for his wife, Laurie.

“She gets knocked for being a New Jersey-bred and that’s unfortunate,” Plesa said. “Could she be [the level of] a Florida-bred or a Kentucky-bred? Absolutely. She runs that good.”

Pray a Novena, seventh in the Colleen, simply didn’t like the turf, according to Plesa.

Other Sorority contenders include Yes Liz, fourth in the Grade 3 Schuylerville at Saratoga, and Aibhilin, a rallying third in the Colleen.

* Pedro Solano suffered a possible broken left elbow when he was unseated from Love Scat in Monmouth’s second race  on Friday. Love Scat was between rivals on the turn of the turf sprint when the rider went down. The horse ran on with the pack through the lane. Solano, 28, was taken to Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J. for evaluation. He is 0-for-10 in his career.