06/16/2012 6:23PM

Monmouth: Srumdiddlyumptious enjoys return to dirt in Just Smashing

Ryan Denver/Equiphoto
Srumdiddlyumptious, ridden by Chuck Lopez, collects her first stakes victory in the Just Smashing.

A long trip to the northwest corner of Pennsylvania last month merely told trainer Kelly Breen that his filly Srumdiddlyumptious was no fan of the synthetic Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs. Back home on dirt at Monmouth Park, however, Srumdiddlyumptious certainly looked comfortable.

Sent to the lead by jockey Chuck Lopez, Srumdiddlyumptious fought off challenges both early and late to earn her first stakes victory in Saturday’s $60,000 Just Smashing for 3-year-old fillies.

A daughter of Roman Ruler owned by George and Lori Hall, Srumdiddlyumptious ($26.40) failed to show her customary early speed when she made her stakes debut in the six-furlong Inaugural at Presque Isle on May 15 and finished ahead of only one horse. But she trained well once she got back on Monmouth’s dirt, posting a half-mile breeze in 48.40 seconds on June 3, the third fastest of 111 workouts at the distance.

Lopez said he deliberately avoided placing Srumdiddlyumptious on the rail even after she cleared her field through a quarter-mile in 22.05 seconds.

“I kept her out in the middle of the track down the backside because I think that’s the best part of the track,” Lopez said. 

Srumdiddlyumptious turned back an early challenge from narrow favorite Busted Again, who overcame a stumble at the start to rush up to within a head of the lead after a half-mile in 45.17 seconds. 

Srumdiddlyumptious still was in trouble in midstretch when her lead was merely a half-length with a furlong remaining.  She held off the New Jersey-bred Salad Girl and fast-closing 49-1 outsider Defy Gravity to prevail by a length, completing six furlongs in 1:10.51 for her third win in five lifetime starts.

“Around the eighth pole they tried to come after me, but she dug in well,” Lopez said. “I wasn’t really concerned when they drew alongside because she’s done that before and fended them off. She has a lot of heart.”

Salad Girl, winner of the Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs in January, held off Maryland shipper Defy Gravity by a neck for second.

The top two betting choices, 9-5 Singlet and 7-5 Busted Again, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.