11/25/2008 12:00AM

Monterey Jazz returns in Cigar

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Benoit & Associates
Monterey Jazz was kept from the Met Mile by a foot injury in the spring.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Monterey Jazz was supposed to spend Memorial Day in New York, but a foot injury scrapped plans to run in the prestigious Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park.

Instead, Monterey Jazz will now spend Thanksgiving in the Big Apple, making his return to the races in Saturday's Grade 1, $300,000 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. Monterey Jazz was scheduled to arrive in New York on Wednesday following a cross-country flight from Southern California.

When last seen, Monterey Jazz was establishing himself as one of the top milers in the nation with a dominant eight-length victory in the Grade 3 Texas Mile at Lone Star Park in April. His gaudy Beyer Speed Figure of 118 earned in that race had many anticipating his next start. But Monterey Jazz suffered a hind foot fracture in a workout at Hollywood Park before he was scheduled to ship for the Met Mile.

After more than three months off, Monterey Jazz returned to trainer Craig Dollase's Hollywood Park barn in September. He returned to the work tab on Oct. 15 and has worked seven times since, including a sharp six-furlong drill from the gate in 1:10.80 last Friday.

"There are no other mile races in the country right now," Dollase said Tuesday by phone from Southern California. "We want to keep him at a mile. He's training lights-out, it's a Grade 1, the weights are right, the weather should be okay. We like the spot and how he's training, so we're going to go for it."

David Flores, who is 4 for 4 aboard Monterey Jazz, is scheduled to come in for the ride. Monterey Jazz, a 4-year-old son of Thunderello, has won 4 of his last 5 starts dating back to Nov. 10, 2007. His only loss in that span was a 12th-place finish in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, a race in which he set a blazing fast pace for 1 1/4 miles. He has won on turf, dirt, and synthetic.

The presence of the front-running Monterey Jazz is not good news for Wanderin Boy and Storm Play, who look to be the other speed horses in the field.

Monterey Jazz's presence in the Cigar Mile sets up an interesting Beyer Speed Figure battle with Bribon, who also earned a 118 Beyer Figure in a one-mile allowance race earlier in the year. Only Commentator has earned a higher figure this year, a 119 in the Richter Scale at Gulfstream Park.

Follow the bouncing jockey

There will be a number of jockey switches for the Cigar Mile. Garrett Gomez will ride Arson Squad, who won the Meadowlands Cup in his last start under Edgar Prado. Prado will be riding Tale of Ekati, who won the Jerome Handicap in his last start under Cornelio Velasquez because Prado was out of town. Velasquez is riding the unbeaten 3-year-old Storm Play, who won the Best of Luck Stakes in his last start under John Velazquez. Velazquez is riding Wanderin Boy, becoming the ninth different pilot that the $1.2 million earner has had in his career.

Alan Garcia, who rode Wanderin Boy to a second-place finish behind Curlin in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, is riding Visionaire, whom he rode to victory in the Grade 1 King's Bishop in August. Rajiv Maragh replaces Garcia aboard Bribon, whom Garcia rode to victory in an allowance race last out.

For those who like stability, Eibar Coa will ride Harlem Rocker for the eighth straight time.

Hello Broadway out of Remsen

Two years after winning the Grade 2 Remsen with Nobiz Like Shobiz, trainer Barclay Tagg was looking forward to trying to do it again with that colt's half-brother, Hello Broadway.

But on Tuesday, Tagg said Hello Broadway will be forced to miss Saturday's renewal of the $200,000 Remsen after getting sick last week. Tagg said Hello Broadway had a temperature diagnosed last week and had inflammation in his throat that forced him to miss four days of training. Hello Broadway jogged on Sunday and Monday, and Tagg was hoping to gallop him on Tuesday, but heavy rain prompted him to cancel those plans.

"I didn't want to take him out and get him soaking wet after having his resistance down," Tagg said.

Thus, Tagg will ship Hello Broadway to south Florida next week and likely point the colt to the Grade 2, $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes at seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 30.

Hello Broadway won his career debut by a neck at Saratoga before running fifth to Vineyard Haven in the Grade 1 Champagne. He was sent off as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 3 Nashua, where he finished second to Break Water Edison, who is already down in south Florida getting freshened for his 3-year-old season.

Tagg said he didn't think Hello Broadway needed a fourth race as a 2-year-old, but he does like the Remsen because it gives a colt experience around two turns and at 1 1/8 miles on a dirt surface.

"I think if you can get away with the Remsen in their 2-year-old year, you're a big step ahead of the game," he said.

The defection of Hello Broadway may leave Old Fashioned, an undefeated son of Unbridled's Song trained by Larry Jones, as the Remsen favorite. Others expected to run include American Dance, Awesome Mich, Hold Me Back, Idol Maker, Rip Rap, and Viscount.

Shopping for turf

Tuesday's wet weather coupled with more cold temperatures may have signaled a premature end to turf racing. There are two turf races carded for Thursday, including the $65,000 Shopping for Love Stakes for New York-bred fillies and mares at one mile.

The field is led by three recent restricted stakes winners, including Chestoria, who won the Fairy Garden on Nov. 12; Follow My Dream, who won the Perfect Arc Stakes on Nov. 9; and Love Cove, who won the Ticonderoga at Belmont on Oct. 18. Cordilleran Ice has won two straight allowance races.

If the race is moved to the dirt, By the Light becomes the one to beat. By the Light has won 7 of 10 career starts, including 5 of 6 versus New York-breds.

* Now a Victor, away from the races since winning the Grade 3 Discovery Handicap here 370 days ago, returns in a third-level allowance race that is carded as the third. The race is scheduled for 6 1/2 furlongs, the same distance at which Now a Victor won his career debut at Saratoga.