Updated on 05/12/2012 6:03PM

Monmouth: Ponzi Scheme takes spill-marred Decathlon


Ponzi Scheme, far enough back in the pack to avoid a chain reaction spill involving five horses, ran down Flat Bold in deep stretch to win the opening-day feature Saturday at Monmouth Park, the $75,000 Decathlon Stakes for sprinters.

Zero Rate Policy, the 2-1 favorite, was racing on the lead under Paco Lopez approaching the turn when he took a bad step and went down. Nathan's H Q, in second place at the time of the incident, fell over Zero Rate Policy. Congressional Page and Bank Merger lost their riders, but kept their feet. A fifth horse, Wildcat Brief, pulled up at the outside fence to avoid the spill.

All five of the horses involved in the incident came back to the barn with only superficial cuts and bruises. The riders likewise escaped serious injury. Only one, Angel Serpa, was taken to the Monmouth Medical Center for precautionary X-rays of his right shoulder.

The only horses left running following the multi-horse spill were Flat Bold, who was close to leader, and trailers Ponzi Scheme and Soaring Stocks.

Flat Bold inherited a four-length lead coming into the stretch, but faded as Ponzi Scheme ($27.20) and Elvis Trujillo blew past to score by 2 3/4 lengths. He completed the six furlongs in 1:10.16. Flat Bold held second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of Soaring Stocks. It was one of four wins on the card for Trujillo, the leading rider at Monmouth each of the past two seasons.

“He breezed well in New York last time so I thought he’d run well, but he likes longer distances,” winning trainer Juan Serey said.  “I told Elvis not to send him and he did a good job.  We’ll look to stretch him back out to his normal distances now.”

Saturday’s attendance of 12,008 was an increase of nearly 11 percent over last year's season opener, when 10,847 were on hand.

All-sources wagering on Monmouth’s 12-race card hit $4,768,956 a 5.2 percent gain over 2011, when $4,534829 was bet. The live handle saw an even bigger jump as $764,125 was bet on Saturday, a 9 percent gain from the $700,796 wagered a year ago.

It was the first day of racing under the auspices of Darby Development LLC, which manages the racetrack for the New Jersey Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association. The NJTHA negotiated a five-year lease from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority to operate Monmouth Park.