08/20/2006 11:00PM

'Park Avenue' to Meadowlands BC


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Trainer Jim Ryerson said Monday that Park Avenue Ball came out of his victory in the Grade 3 Philip H. Iselin Stakes at Monmouth Park in good order and will most likely make his next start in the Grade 2, $500,000 Meadowlands Breeders' Cup Stakes on Oct. 13.

"He came back great," Ryerson said. "We're very pleased. He ran hard and got a little tired. We'll probably give him a couple additional weeks' rest."

Ryerson said he plans to train Park Avenue Ball up to the Meadowlands Cup and pass on a potentially easy spot: the $125,000 New Jersey Breeders Handicap for statebreds at Monmouth Park on Sept. 16, in which Park Avenue Ball would be an overwhelming favorite following the Iselin victory.

"The Iselin was his hardest race of the year," Ryerson said. "We have been spacing his races every four weeks, and you could say, 'Why not another one with four weeks to the Jersey-bred race?' With the weight you'll get, it might be best to wait until the Meadowlands Cup."

Park Avenue Ball passed an important hurdle in the Iselin, which was his first win at 1 1/8 miles. He had failed in three previous attempts at the distance.

"If he was ever going to do it, it was now," Ryerson said. "The race shaped up good for him in terms of the pace. It gave him a legitimate shot to get it done.

"I don't how much further than that he wants to go," he said. "This gives you more options, now that he was able to get it done. There are so many more races, especially graded races, at 1 1/8 miles."

The Iselin victory was a win for the home team - Park Avenue Ball, Ryerson, jockey Chris DeCarlo, and owners Marianne and Charlie Hesse all hail from New Jersey. The win was also a breakthrough for Ryerson in a major stakes at his home track. He has won big races elsewhere, including the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile with Unbridled's Song at Belmont Park in 1995.

Before Saturday, Ryerson's best finish in the Iselin was a third, with Jersey Giant in 2003. Ryerson was third in the Grade 1 Haskell last year with Park Avenue Ball and second with Meadow Flight in 1994.

"Personally, I've run second and third in the big ones at home, and it was nice to win one," Ryerson said.

Tap Day a big disappointment

Rob Rader, Mark Hennig's assistant trainer at Monmouth, was stumped by Tap Day's poor effort in the Iselin. Last year's Meadowlands Cup winner, Tap Day finished seventh in the eight-horse field and was never a factor.

"He came out of it all right," Rader said. "It's very frustrating. He was going into the race the way you wanted a horse to, and then he runs around there the way he did. There are no answers to it."

It was the second straight poor effort for Tap Day, who in his previous start finished fifth in the Grade 1 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park.

"He isn't telling me he doesn't want to do it anymore," Rader said. "That's what's aggravating about it."

Call the Thunder heating up

Rader could get a lift from Call the Thunder, who bids for her third straight allowance win Wednesday in the $52,000 allowance feature at Monmouth.

"She's really turned it around this year," Rader said. "She's doing really well. Against the right bunch of horses, she could win the third level right back."

Owner-trainer Peter Kazamias entered Forgotten Promise and Behrnik for the $50,000 claiming tag in this one-mile race and in a similar seven-furlong spot Tuesday at Philadelphia Park.