08/27/2010 4:40PM

Rush of stakes coming up

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Vengeful Wildcat, with Carlos Marquez Jr. up, wins the Tyro Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. The unbeaten Vengeful Wildcat is on target for the Grade 3, $150,000 Sapling Stakes, one of the final graded events of Monmouth Park’s 2010 meet.

The summer meet ends Labor Day with a flurry of stakes on the final weekend.

The Sapling, the track’s top event for 2-year-olds, and the $100,000 Twin Lights Stakes top the card on Saturday, Sept. 4.

The Grade 3, $200,000 Red Bank at one mile on the turf and the $100,000 Icecapade for sprinters headline the Sunday card.

A pair of $100,000 stakes, the Gilded Time for 3-year-old turf sprinters and the Sorority for 2-year-old fillies share lead billing on the Labor Day.

Racing will continue through Nov. 21 on a Saturday-and-Sunday schedule for the fall meet.

Vengeful Wildcat hasn’t missed a beat in two races this summer at Monmouth while rapidly making up for lost time. The New Farm homebred trained by Ben Perkins, Jr. won by a neck in his debut in early July at 20-1 and came back to win the Tyro Stakes in the mud on July 25, the prep for the Sapling.

“His first race was nice and I thought he did improve on it,” Perkins said. “Going into the first race, I thought it was going to be tough. The horses in the race had been in Florida training. Some had been through the 2-year-old sales. Our horse hadn’t breezed until we got here in May. We kept our horses up here over the winter and, with the weather, it was hard to keep them going good.”

Perkins has high hopes for Vengeful Wildcat. He trained the dam, Wild Snitch who captured the 2002 Sorority.

“This was the first nice horse she’s had,” Perkins said. “We had him in the yearling sales and we bought him back pretty cheaply. Sometimes, you get lucky.”

Fawkes thinking Breeders’ Cup

The 16-1 upset win by Duke of Mischief last weekend in the Iselin Stakes has trainer David Fawkes thinking Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile for the 4-year-old winner of three graded stakes this year. In addition to the Grade 3 Iselin, Duke of Mischief also took the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap and the off-the-turf Grade 3 Ft Lauderdale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

“If he brings his A game, he can probably compete in the Breeders’ Cup,” Fawkes said.

Fawkes plans to run him once more before making a firm Breeders’ Cup commitment. He has a pair of Grade 2 spots under consideration: The Monmouth Cup (formerly The Meadowlands Cup) at 1 1/8 miles here on Oct. 9 or the Kelso on Oct. 3 at Belmont Park.

“The Kelso is the most intriguing to me because it is one mile,” Fawkes said. “Both places [Belmont and Churchill] have one-turn miles. It’s easier to get position, and he’s got enough early speed to lay close comfortably. I don’t think the shorter distance is going to hurt him.”

Lopez gets stay of ban

Paco Lopez won a stay in New Jersey Supreme Court of a suspension for multiple riding infractions.

The stewards suspended Lopez starting Aug. 22 for the final eight days of the Elite Meet.

Lopez, the leading rider at the meet, got judicial relief after a losing an initial appeal to a lower court. He is slated to return on Sunday and will serve the remaining days during Monmouth’s fall meet.

◗ An amazing streak ended last Sunday, Aug. 22: Taces were finally rained off the turf at Monmouth.

For a track cursed by brutal weather in the past, like the monsoon on the 2007 Breeders’ Cup weekend, Monmouth almost managed an entire summer without losing a grass race.