09/01/2012 12:17PM

Monmouth: Sean Avery's comeback starts in Turf Monster at Parx

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Barbara D. Livingston
Sean Avery makes his first start on Monday since upsetting the Vanderbilt last summer.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – The Monmouth Park-based Sean Avery, sidelined for more than a year with a tendon injury, makes his comeback Monday in the $350,000 Turf Monster Handicap at Parx Racing.

The enormously talented 6-year-old gelding has been plagued by injuries throughout his career. The Turf Monster will be only the 11th start for Sean Avery, named for the now-retired pugnacious hockey player. It also will be his first race on grass.

Sean Avery has turned in several bullet works at Monmouth Park for trainer Allen Iwinski. The Turf Monster will be his first start since capturing the Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt at Saratoga last summer. The bowed tendon was detected about a week after he beat Trappe Shot by a nose at 17-1 and earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 112.

Bowed tendons can be tricky business, but Iwinski was confident Sean Avery had another comeback in him.

“We acted aggressively, stopping on him and rehabbing him” Iwinski said. “The truth of the matter, it was a very minor tear that he reinjured. Nobody with a naked eye can look at him and tell he has a tendon problem at all. He’s overcome injuries all along and has come back to flourish.”

The biggest problem was finding a comeback spot.

“Sean has been ready to run, and we’ve had a difficult time finding a place to run him,” Iwinski said. “He wasn’t quite ready to show up in the Vanderbilt this year, and that was certainly a thought that we had. There just weren’t that many places to chose from.”

One of them at Monmouth disappeared when the $75,000 Icecapade Stakes slated for Monday did not fill. That left the Turf Monster as a lucrative alternative. It also is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In race, with the winner getting a slot in the Turf Sprint.

“We’re just hoping things go well, and he continues to train and stay sound,” Iwinski said. “I think we’ll have a lot of fun with him.”