07/02/2004 11:00PM

Request for Parole breaks out

Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO
Request for Parole, with Edgar Prado riding, finishes up a perfect trip in the United Nations with a half-length victory over Mr O'Brien.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Request for Parole, a hard-luck loser in many of his recent races, ended the hex Saturday with a victory in the 51st running of the Grade 1, $750,000 at Monmouth Park.

Request for Parole's performance lines were littered with comments like "traffic" and "steadied." On Saturday, he had clear sailing to outduel Mr O'Brien by a half-length, with Nothing to Lose third.

In his previous start, Request for Parole had finished fifth in the Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park. His trainer, Stanley Hough, speaking from Belmont, said, "He had a bad trip in the Manhattan. He had a really great trip today, and usually in races like this the horse with the best trip gets the win."

Request for Parole ($11.40) ran the 1 3/8 miles over the very firm turf course in 2:13.37

Edgar Prado rode the winner for his third straight victory on the card.

"I always thought this horse would have a good chance to win this race," he said.

The race unfolded as expected, with Balto Star, last year's upset winner at 37-1, trying for a repeat victory on lead.

Jose Velez Jr., in a carbon copy of last year's ride, backed down the fractions to a reasonable clip. This time Balto Star could not hold on and was passed by Nothing to Lose turning for home.

Request for Parole got an ideal ground-saving trip from Prado behind the speed. Request for Parole angled off the hedge turning for home and took the outside route as Mr O'Brien shot through an inside opening.

"The trip was super," said Prado. "We planned all along to be right behind the speed. We thought that was the right position, and it worked out beautifully today."

Request for Parole gave Prado and Hough a sweep of both stakes on the card. They had combined earlier to capture the $65,000 Longfellow Stakes with Canadian Frontier.

Meteor Storm, winner of the Manhattan, saw his three-race winning streak snapped, as he finished seventh as the 2-1 favorite. He had the outside post in the 11-horse field and wound up racing wide throughout while in midpack.

"The horse was just very flat today," said his trainer, Wally Dollase. "I don't know what happened."

A victory would have given Meteor Storm consecutive Grade 1 wins and stamped him the clear-cut leader in the male turf division.

That position remains open to debate in the aftermath of the U.N.

Better Talk Now was a scratch on Saturday morning.

* Canadian Frontier ($3.20) took the Longfellow Stakes, running six furlongs in 1:08.98. Canadian Frontier collared the pacesetting Captain Red at the quarter pole and held off a late charge from Highway Prospector by a half-length.