05/27/2002 11:00PM

Possible future stars look for first win


OCEANPORT, N.J. - In the past several decades, Monmouth Park has had its share of champions who won for the first time here. Such stars as Lord Avie, Open Mind, Dehere, Holy Bull, Skip Away, and Smoke Glacken all won maiden races here as 2-year-olds.

The same sense of great expectations that accompanied wins by those stars arrives with Thursday's third race - the first juvenile race of the meet. A field of nine maidens, going five furlongs, includes an array of high-priced and regally bred fillies, as well as others who have shown some talent despite unheralded breeding or modest sale prices.

Clearly the most regally bred is the D. Wayne Lukas-trained Final Legacy. Final Legacy is by the champion 2-year-old of 1996, Boston Harbor, an earner of $1.9 million who was trained by Lukas. Her dam is Terlingua, a Grade 1-winning daughter of Secretariat. Terlingua's first foal was Storm Cat, making Final Legacy a half-sister to the accomplished sire. Final Legacy is a homebred of Overbrook Farm.

Lukas, who has had tremendous success in the juvenile division here, had Final Legacy at Churchill Downs before she was sent to Monmouth a week and a half ago.

"She had a slow half-mile breeze the other day and she looks ready to go," said Rafael Castellano, assistant trainer to Lukas at Monmouth. "She's ready to run and Wayne likes to run in the Monmouth maiden races."

Two of the most experienced starters in the field are Mike's Wildcat and Emblitterate. Mike's Wildcat, trained by Jeff Bonde, is likely to be one of the favorites. She earned a 67 Beyer Speed Figure in her first career start May 5 at Hollywood Park, dueling on the lead but weakening down the stretch to finish fourth by 1 3/4 lengths. Mike's Wildcat, a daughter of Forest Wildcat, sold for $200,000 at the Ocala Breeders' 2-year-old sale in March, a high price considering she is the first foal out of the unraced mare Old Flame.

Bonde won two 2-year-old races here last summer, including a maiden win by Menacing Dennis, the early pacesetter in this year's Preakness.

If Emblitterate enjoys future success, her breeding value will surely rise. Emblitterate is by Our Emblem, whose value has risen with the success of his son, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner War Emblem. Emblitterate already has two starts under her belt - a third at Keeneland and a fourth at Churchill Downs. She was well bet at the windows in both those races.

"We got her for $2,000," trainer Carl Deville said, "and that's looking pretty good right now."

Trainer Jason Servis has two first-time starters entered - Sunrise Slew and the Jersey-bred Bebe Betz. Of the two, Sunrise Slew is the better-bred filly. Sunrise Slew is by the champion Seattle Slew and out of Selling Sunshine. Selling Sunshine hasn't produced any foals of note.

Ronny Werner, whose has had success with 2-year-olds at Keeneland and Churchill and at Saratoga in the past few years, will be looking for his first victory at Monmouth with second-time starter Ebony Post.

Coa returns to Jersey Shore

Eibar Coa, the leading rider in his first stint at Monmouth last summer, returned here Memorial Day weekend after missing the first two weekends of the meet.

Coa had to sit out the first two weekends because of a 10-day suspension imposed during the 2001 meet. Coa had an outstanding fall and winter at The Meadowlands and in Florida, with such top mounts as Best of the Rest, Sir Bear, and Mystic Lady, and he is looking to continue that momentum into this meet. He recorded four wins over the long weekend.

Coa, who battled with Joe Bravo atop the standings last summer before Bravo was injured, will be spotting Bravo a substantial lead heading into the heart of the meet, which begins a five-day schedule next week. Bravo has 20 wins after last weekend.

"I'm not really worried about winning the title again," Coa said. "I'm just going to keep working hard and hopefully get the mounts back that I lost the first two weeks."

Oceanport next for Key Lory

The 8-year-old Key Lory, who won the first graded stakes of the meet - the Grade 3 Red Bank - last Saturday, came out of the race in good shape, according to trainer Dennis Manning.

Key Lory's win in the Red Bank kept him undefeated in four starts on turf, all wire-to-wire victories. Manning said Key Lory will be pointed to the Grade 3 Oceanport Handicap on June 15, a race he won last year, and then the Grade 1 United Nations Handicap on July 6.