07/08/2005 12:00AM

Rain limits McSorley entries


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Heavy rain started in the wee hours and continued right through the afternoon Friday at Monmouth Park.

Training ended an hour early, with the last horse off the track at 9 a.m., and the two races slated for the turf were switched to the sealed and sloppy main track.

Friday was also entry day for the $55,000 John McSorley Stakes on Sunday, and weather directly impacted the field for the five-furlong turf race.

Several trainers, including Tim Hills and Jamie Woodington, passed on the McSorley because they believed all weekend grass races would wind up on dirt.

Hills said he will wait for another spot for Scattering Breezes, who missed by a neck in last year's McSorley.

Woodington had a fall-back position for Freedom's Honor in Monmouth's $60,000 Colts Neck Handicap on July 17. It is six furlongs on the main track, and Freedom's Honor gains the advantage of facing fellow New Jersey-breds in that spot.

Trainers who elected to enter the McSorley faced the prospect of a main-track shift.

Either surface suits Choose. A 4-year-old, he has scored recent wins on dirt and turf, including a five-length win last time out in the off-the-turf Wolf Hill Stakes.

"Grass or dirt, it really doesn't matter to him," said Pat McBurney, assistant trainer for John Forbes.

Choose last ran on June 5, so he should be well rested.

Second in Command would not mind a wet track. He has a record of 2-1-0 in six wet-track races, including a victory in the 2003 Best Turn Stakes at a sloppy Aqueduct. A 5-year-old, he missed by three-quarters of a length in last year's McSorley.

"He is doing well," said Sam Randazzo, who trains Linda Rice's Monmouth division. "It's his third race off a layoff and, since he has an affinity for the mud, Linda decided to enter him."

Trainer Scott Lake entered Tacirring, another runner who can win on turf or dirt. A 6-year-old gelding, Tacirring won the five-furlong Ben Cohen Stakes at Pimlico on the turf in his most recent start and also won a six-furlong main-track race in the slop at Gulfstream Park in February.

Pomeroy back in allowance

Pomeroy, winner of the Grade 1 King's Bishop at Saratoga and Monmouth's Grade 3 Jersey Shore Breeders' Cup Stakes last season, returns to Monmouth on Sunday in a $47,000 allowance race.

Trained by Patrick Biancone, Pomeroy ran fourth most recently in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park. He is winless in three starts this season, but is unbeaten in two Monmouth starts. Pomeroy faces allowance company for the first time since he romped here by 11 1/2 lengths in the second start of his 2-year-old season.

Biancone horses are usually live at Monmouth. He has a record of 2-1-3 in seven starts this meet.

- The $60,000 Dearly Precious Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters slated for Sunday did not fill. The race office will try to bring the stakes back next weekend.

- Rain or shine, the annual Backstretch Appreciation Day Picnic takes place Monday at noon in track's picnic area.

The free event is open to all backstretch workers and their families. In addition to food and drinks, the day features a series of raffles and amusements for the expected 2,000 attendees.