09/01/2012 10:37AM

Monmouth: Trujillo and Cibelli on track to defend titles


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The Monmouth meet heads into the homestretch after Monday with only 10 days left. The track will run Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. 7.

In the jockey standings, Elvis Trujillo held a substantial lead over Paco Lopez going into the Saturday card. They finished one-two last year and appear destined to repeat that finish.

If he maintains the lead, Trujillo will have his third Monmouth title in the last four years.

It is much tighter in the training race where defending champion Jane Cibelli once again was setting the pace.

The first woman to win a Monmouth training title, Cibelli appears to have enough horsepower to hold off the closest pursuers, Eddie Plesa Jr. and Juan Serey, a five-time Monmouth training leader.

“Last year, I thought I got lucky,” Cibelli said. “It rained a lot and there were races that came off the turf where I had horses that could run either way. Those were kind of like gifts. This year, it’s been harder in that I had better horses and my earnings are higher this year. I’ve had some injuries. I came in here with some really nice 3-year-olds but they suffered accidents and injuries. Nothing’s gone well, but at the end of the day, I’m very happy with the way things have gone.”

Cibelli plans to crank out runners right to the end.

“I might be a little down in numbers at this time of year but I always try to find the right race that fits a horse,” Cibelli said.

◗ With the cancellation of the Icecapade, the Lady’s Secret for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles was revived to fill the Labor Day stakes gap. The $75,000 race didn’t fill for Aug. 26.