06/24/2010 11:00PM

Roman Tiger weighing United Nations


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Owner-trainer Dennis Manning is still on the fence with respect to running Roman Tiger in next Saturday's $750,000 United Nations Stakes.

The U.N. tops the Independence Day holiday weekend at Monmouth Park, one of the biggest and busiest periods of the meet with four cards Friday through Monday.

The U.N., at 1 3/8 miles on turf, and the $1 million Haskell Invitational are Monmouth's two Grade 1 stakes.

The U.N. has started to take shape. Presious Passion, looking for a record third straight U.N. victory, tops stakes coordinator Dan Dufford's list of likely runners. He will be challenged by Grade 1 winners Winchester, Telling, and Take the Points.

This year's U.N. could have a strong international flavor, with Chinchon from France and Jeune-Turc from South America expected.

Straight Story and Get Serious, winner of the Monmouth Stakes, are likely local runners.

Where does that leave Roman Tiger, the rallying runner-up in the Monmouth Stakes?

Squarely on the bubble.

"I want to see how big the field is going to be," Manning said. "If it's a big field, I'm not going. I'll look at who is in the race, look at my numbers, and if I think I'll be competitive, then I'll take a shot. If not, I'll run him back in a two-other-than."

Roman Tiger, 5, is 2 for 12 in a career compromised by injuries and allergies.

"I'm just trying to put him in the right spot," Manning said. "Each time he's run, his numbers get better."

Since he owns the horse, the U.N. decision rests strictly with Manning.

"I don't have any owner pressure," he said.

Out of Respect steps up to stakes

The $200,000 Jersey Shore Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters next Sunday will be a step up in class for the New York-bred Out of Respect.

Trainer Scott Volk is feeling confident after the gelding posted a first-level win here June 13 in his first start since March 17 at Aqueduct.

"He's a good horse," Volk said "He ran a big race off a huge layoff last week. We were very, very confident going into that race. He won very easily and he's doing well."

The best part about that victory was that it came at Monmouth.

"We expected to win that race, and it was a very good thing because we walked out of our barn and got the job done without getting on a van," Volk said.

Out of Respect captured his debut at Calder last October. His next three races were against New York-breds at Aqueduct. He was second, beaten 1 1/2 lengths in a New York Stallion Stakes, followed by a first-level win and a head loss in a second-level allowance.

This will be the second straight race in open company and Out of Respect's toughest challenge yet.

"He's got to step up to the plate a little bit," Volk said.

Other possible runners in the Jersey Shore include the New Jersey-bred Partyallnightlong and the filly Christine Daae

No suspension following DQ

The stewards found jockey Joe Bravo blameless for the disqualification of Escrow Kid from first to sixth in the Anderson Fowler Stakes last Sunday, following an extensive video review of the race Friday.

After splitting foes in the lane, Escrow Kid ducked out sharply into the path of Never Content. Both Elvis Trujillo on Never Content and Paco Lopez aboard Bernie the Maestro lodged objections against the winner.

The stewards took down his number for the chain-reaction interference.

In Friday's review, the stewards decided that Bravo did everything within his power to keep the horse on a straight course and did not warrant an additional fine or suspension.

* The annual Backstretch Appreciation Day Picnic, a Monmouth Park tradition for the last 18 years, takes place July 12 starting at noon, rain or shine. The free event open to the entire backstretch community includes food, beverages, games, and raffles. Every child gets a gift bag of toys, games, and snacks. Last year's picnic drew more than 2,000 adults and children.

* Sir Tyler T gave trainer Juan Serey his 992nd career win in the fourth race Friday.

* Trainer Joe Pierce Jr., who turned 83 on Thursday, won the seventh race Friday with Most Wanted Affair.