08/01/2013 3:20PM

Monmouth: Rail draw puts heat on Wicked Tune


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Wicked Tune puts a three-race winning streak on the line Saturday at Monmouth Park in the $60,000 My Frenchman Stakes for turf sprinters.

A 6-year-old trained by Jane Cibelli, Wicked Tune registered Beyer Speed Figures of 90 or better in all three victories, topping out most recently with a career-best 97 in a second-level allowance race at Delaware Park.

That kind of consistency makes him a top contender against six rivals going 5 1/2 furlongs from the infield sprint chute.

The number of greatest interest to Cibelli is not any particular Beyer figure but rather the opening fraction in Saturday’s stakes event. Wicked Tune and jockey Elvis Trujillo break from the rail, where a sharp start is crucial for the frontrunner.

“On this turf course, they could actually go 20-and-change,” Cibelli said. “If he does that, he could be in trouble. If he can slow it up to 22, then I think it will be all over.”

Cibelli took over the training of Patricia Generazio’s homebred this winter in Florida. This will be Wicked Tune’s first start for Cibelli over the Monmouth course, where he is 2-1-1 in six tries. His best effort came in a loss, a neck defeat in the 2011 My Frenchman.

In addition to the early pace in the race, the other concern for Cibelli is the extra sixteenth of a mile. The three-racing winning streak came in five-furlong dashes.

“At five-and-a-half [furlongs], you set it up for a closer,” Cibelli said.

The biggest rallying threat is Night Officer with Joe Bravo aboard for trainer Bruce Brown.

“Bravo is an outstanding turf rider and he’s on a closer,” Cibelli said. “I think he’s probably the one to watch. I think he’s the biggest threat.”

Night Officer was a late-running third in the John McSorley Stakes here in June. He closed from far back to get fifth in his latest effort, the off-the-turf Highlander Stakes at Woodbine.

Boltin’ Out also brings a three-race winning streak into the My Frenchman. A 4-year-old gelding trained by Flint Stites, Boltin’ Out put the string together in the span of less than a month at Colonial Downs.

Respighi, the lone 3-year-old in the field, faces his biggest test. He is unbeaten in the two starts since trainer Ned Allard put him on the turf at Penn National.

Hoorayforhollywood, a recent transfer from trainer Bob Baffert to Arnaud Delacour, Kyma, and A P Elvis complete the field.