06/03/2003 12:00AM

Rose joins winning team


OCEANPORT, N.J. - Owner Michael Gill suggested Jeremy Rose shift his tack to Monmouth Park this summer, and the move has already paid off handsomely for the 24-year-old jockey.

"I get to ride first call for his horses and he's got a lot of horses that are always competitive," Rose said.

The numbers bear that out. Through seven days of racing here, Rose had eight wins, only four behind leading rider Joe Bravo. Every win has come on a horse owned by Gill.

Mark Shuman, the trainer of seven of Rose's winners, likes the concept of using a stable rider.

"He's a good rider," Shuman said. "With as many horses as we have, we like to have someone as a team player out there with us.

"He can come back and tell us something after every race. We get a feel for him. It's good to have someone in your corner all the time. It gives us something consistent."

For Rose, the live horses available to him at Monmouth outweigh the opportunities he might have to ride more horses elsewhere.

"It's really the quality rather than the quantity," Rose said. "I don't need 10 a day. I'm very happy going out there on just a few horses that have a real good shot."

Rose, the 2001 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice rider, already has a stakes win at the meet, aboard City Fire in the $50,000 Revidere on Saturday.

Rose is named on five mounts Thursday with three of them trained by Shuman: Harbor Pass in the fourth, Slew Gulch in the fifth, and La Truffe Grise in the seventh.

More contests planned

The Meadowlands hosted the state's first public handicapping contest Saturday evening. The New Jersey Racing Commission gave approval for the competition only last week.

"We had a blast and I can't wait until we have one at Monmouth," said Pete Verdee, vice president for event marketing at both tracks.

The first Thoroughbred contest will take place at Monmouth on an undetermined date in September. Verdee also plans a Thoroughbred contest at The Meadowlands in the fall.

According to Verdee, both contests will be staged in conjunction with Daily Racing Form and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, with top finishers qualifying for the DRF/NTRA National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas on Jan. 23-24, 2004.