08/16/2001 11:00PM

Mott bids for first juvenile turf stakes

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Bill Mott, who shipped five turf stakes winners to Monmouth last year, has a great opportunity to take his first stakes here this summer with Multitudinous in the $50,000 Junior Champion Stakes on Sunday.

The Junior Champion Stakes, run at one mile, is the first turf stakes of the meet for 2-year-olds. The race, for 2-year-old fillies, drew a solid field of 12, offering a good mix of first-time turf starters and others who have already had grass success.

Multitudinous, who was supplemented to the race, took to the turf nicely in her only career start on July 22 at Belmont. Sent off at 11-1, she sat off a hot pace and captured the

six-furlong maiden special weight by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:09.25. Multitudinous, a daughter of Numerous, was an $85,000 Keeneland September purchase as a yearling by Centennial Farms.

Christmas Party, Lady Fenwick, and Trix City all recorded top performances on the turf at Colonial Downs, and should be extremely tough if able to move forward off those efforts.

Christmas Party, trained by Michael Dickinson, broke from the 11th of 12 posts in her only start, a 5 1/2-furlong turf race at Colonial July 31, but she rated right near the lead and pulled away down the lane for a 1 1/2-length win. Trix City and Lady Fenwick ran first and second, respectively, in a six-furlong turf race one day earlier at Colonial Downs.

Minimalist, Ellie's Quest, Piano Chimes, Romantic Tryst, P.J.'s Day, Once Around, Sara's Dream, and Kiati complete the field.

Winning Talk bests higher-priced foes

In last Sunday's finale, a maiden special weight for 2-year-olds, a high-priced group of juveniles assembled, with three colts purchased for more than $200,000. Yet it was Winning Talk, a $27,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase, who showed the most class by winning the six-furlong maiden in 1:11.54. Winning Talk, trained by John Forbes and owned by Peter Shannon, recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 81, one of the highest set by a

2-year-old this meet.

Winning Talk, sent off as the second choice at 9-2, battled right on the lead throughout the race. In the stretch, second-time starter Spin Zone and Winning Talk were heads apart every step of the way, with Winning Talk prevailing by a neck.

Forbes, who admitted that he doesn't push his 2-year-olds hard, said he was very pleased with the performance.

"We had him at a point where he could get experience," he said. "He had trained like he had a lot of ability."

Winning Talk is a late foal, born in May, and that is why Forbes said he believes the colt didn't sell for more. His breeding is very good, as he is the son of Victory Speech, third in the 1996 Haskell. He is out of Lady Shirl, a Grade 1 winner who won 18 races from ages 2 to 7, earning nearly $1 million in her career.

Shannon, who has been involved with racing in New Jersey for 30 years, decided to get more involved in purchasing yearlings last year. Winning Talk was one of three bought by Shannon. "He deserves a nice horse," Forbes said. "He has done so much for New Jersey racing."

Winning Talk won't return to the races very quickly, but when he does, expect another big performance.

"He came out of the race very well," Forbes said. "I won't make the mistake of over-racing him. I'll let him dictate the best direction."

Shin trouble for Menacing Dennis

Menacing Dennis, the most impressive 2-year-old this meet, has come down with shin problems, according to his trainer Jeff Bonde. The colt, who recorded a Beyer Speed Figure of 91 in his career debut July 12, has worked out since the race. Bonde said the problem is pretty normal for a 2-year-old, but he does not want to rush the talented colt back to the races.

"I want to make sure everything is right when he comes back," said Bonde, who is stabled here for the first time this summer. "We're a little disappointed, but that's horse racing. You wait when you have to wait."

Menacing Dennis was purchased by Dennis Narlinger of JMJ Racing for $100,000 at the Barrett's May 2-year-old in training sales, run by Keith and Cash Asmussen. Menacing Dennis, a California-bred son of Star De Naskra, garnered a nice sale price, especially in light of the fact that he is a gelding.

Bonde was absent from his Monmouth barn for several weeks, as he was back in California, where he also has a string, for the Del Mar yearling sales. Bonde purchased a California-bred daughter of Bertrando, a half-sister to two stakes winners, for $200,000. Bonde said he was more aggressive at the sales, as he watched a colt that he let get away last year win the Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar on Wednesday. That colt, the California-bred Officer, is owned by the Thoroughbred Corporation, and was purchased at the Barrett's March sale for $700,000. Bonde had been one of the bidders when the colt was sold to Becky Thomas for $175,000 at the yearling sales last year.

"I weakened in the bidding when I shouldn't have," he said.