06/28/2013 12:59PM

Monmouth: Successful Song follows familiar path that starts with Lighthouse

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Tom Keyser
Successful Song, winning the Sunshine Millions Distaff this past winter, looks to defend her title in Sunday's Lighthouse Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Successful Song parlayed a win last year in Monmouth Park’s Lighthouse Stakes into a fast-closing second in the meet’s premier race for fillies and mares, the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher.

Trainer Eddie Plesa Jr. hopes Successful Song can repeat that pattern, starting on Sunday in the $75,000 Lighthouse, a solidly competitive race at 1 1/16 miles.

The Lighthouse marks the comeback of Cash for Clunkers, on the shelf since last September after a pair of blowout losses to division champion Royal Delta.

The field includes Withgreatpleasure, winner of the Grade 2 Ruffian Handicap at Aqueduct in April; Moon Philly, who captured two overnight stakes at Laurel over the winter; the consistent New Jersey-bred Little Stitch; and a pair of claimed horses who have found success in new barns: Winiliscious and Lady Samuri.

Successful Song has been freshened since running a distant third on March 30 in the Grade 3 Rampart at Gulfstream Park.

“She just didn’t really run her race,” Plesa said of the Rampart. “It was a tougher race and she kind of chased a little bit.”

This is a bonus season for Successful Song. A Live Oak Plantation homebred, the 6-year-old Successful Song was a candidate for retirement to the broodmare ranks after last year.

She has already won a pair of Florida-bred stakes in 2013, including the Sunshine Millions Distaff. A victory in open company, especially the Molly Pitcher, would vindicate the decision to race her one more year.

“I’d like to prove it was the right decision,” Plesa said. “She’s bigger and stronger this season. She’s doing as good as she’s ever done.”

Winiliscious is a good as she has ever been, based on her latest workout: a half-mile in 46 seconds last weekend.

“I don’t think I’ve had a horse breeze that well in 43 years of training,” co-owner Chuck Spina said. “She did it easy.”

Winiliscious has won five times since Spina claimed her for $7,500 early in Monmouth’s 2012 meet.

She ran second most recently to Zucchini Flower in the Monmouth Beach Stakes in late May after setting a pressured pace.

“She was dead game,” Spina said. “A closer came and got her. No excuse. She was just second best. This is never an easy race and there are a couple of tough ones in there, but she tries every time and she’s doing great. It’s been a lot of fun.”