05/11/2016 12:40PM

Monmouth waiting on influx of Parx horses


Although all of the stalls at Monmouth Park have been allocated for its summer meet, which begins Saturday, there were only about 800 horses on the grounds as of Monday, according to Bob Kulina, the president of Darby Development, the operator of the Oceanport, N.J., track.

Some horses have not yet arrived from their winter stables, according to Kulina, and 100 to 150 horses who eventually will be at Monmouth are at Parx Racing, which has been under an equine herpes quarantine since April 1.

“The herpes situation at Parx is hurting us right now,” Kulina said.

Monmouth Park races Saturdays and Sundays for the first few weeks of its meet, and Mike Anifantis, the new director of racing at Monmouth, said, “I think we’ll be fine filling races once we get though opening weekend.”

Jorge Navarro, the leading trainer at Monmouth over the past three years, has 65 stalls and said Wednesday he is looking forward to the beginning of the meet. Both of his impressive Kentucky Derby Day winners, Sharp Azteca and Catalina Red, are stabled at Monmouth.

Sharp Azteca, the winner of the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile on Saturday, will be pointed to the Grade 3, $150,000 Pegasus Stakes on June 19 and then to the $1 million Haskell Invitational on July 31.

Catalina Red, who won the $500,000 Churchill Downs Stakes on the Derby undercard, is being considered for one of two races at Belmont Park, the Grade 1 Met Mile on Belmont Stakes Day, June 11, or the Grade 2 True North, a six-furlong race run the day before the Belmont.

There are a number of new trainers stabled at Monmouth Park for this meet. Chad Brown, who in prior years has shipped horses in from his Belmont Park base, will have 32 stalls at Monmouth. Nick Zito will send in 18 to 20 horses, according to Anifantis.

Other new trainers include John Servis (20 to 25 stalls), Gustavo Delgado (20), Jason DaCosta (20), and Mike Trombetta (20).

Velasquez teams up with apprentice

Hall of Fame rider Jorge Velasquez is the agent for 10-pound apprentice Addiel Ayala, who will ride at Monmouth Park and in New York.

Ayala, 18, had been riding at Tampa Bay Downs since early March. He was named to ride a horse for trainer Joe Parker in the second race at Belmont Park on Thursday.

Ayala went 2 for 15 in his native Puerto Rico before coming to the United States. He went 0 for 19 at Tampa.

Velasquez watched video of Ayala riding and thinks he has potential.

“I like what I’ve seen,” Velasquez said. “He can hit right-handed, he can hit left-handed.”

Ayala said Tuesday he can tack 106 pounds.