09/10/2009 11:00PM

Sharp break key for Hermosillo


OCEANPORT, N.J. - The element of surprise is gone for Hermosillo heading into the $60,000 Lincroft Handicap for New Jersey-breds on the turf Sunday at Monmouth Park.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Steve DiMauro, Hermosillo flew under most radar screens when he rolled to a six-length win in the Charles Hesse III Handicap at 35-1.

Hermosillo has always had strong early speed. The Hesse was his first win in five starts this season, a campaign that started with a distant second to Joey P. in the John J. Reilly Handicap in May.

After that initial sprint, Hermosillo switched back to routes, with initially poor results. He produced a much sharper effort to get second in the allowance race against open company in the race before the Hesse, a turning point that paved the way for the upset.

"It was a small field and he easily got the lead," DiMauro said. "He fought back when a horse came to him. It was a good sign."

The key to any race for Hermosillo is the break. If he zips away from the gate, he has the speed to be a controlling factor. A dull start usually leads to dull finish.

In the Hesse, Hermosillo was on his toes at the break.

"I'm not sure if anything turned it around," DiMauro said. "The race set up well for him last time. He had an inside post and he broke well."

And, to the surprise of many, including DiMauro, he kept going in the 1 1/16-mile race even after an opening half-mile in a demanding 46.10.

"I kept saying he was going too fast," DiMauro said. "About the quarter pole, I decided to give in and thought we had a legitimate shot to win. He ran a big race that day. I don't know if he can duplicate it."

Weather permitting, the Lincroft is a rare opportunity for New Jersey-breds to run in a grass stakes. This would be Hermosillo's turf debut.

"We're going to run," DiMauro said. "He's never tried it and he's not really bred for it, but it's the last New Jersey-bred stakes here."

With a success comes a penalty in handicap races. Hermosillo will carry 119 pounds, five more than in the Hesse.

At the Disco, the 17-10 favorite in the Hesse who bobbled at the break and finished fourth, has the top assignment at 122 pounds.

Love That Dance heads Trenton

The $70,000 Trenton Stakes for filly and mare sprinters is a victim of too much competition for the same horses on the same weekend.

The $400,000 Presque Isle Downs Masters and the $150,000 Endine Stakes at Delaware Park, both on Saturday, were essentially the same race for substantially more money.

While there were a number of horses cross-entered in the three races, Love That Dance was committed to the Trenton.

A 3-year-old New Jersey-bred filly, Love That Dance finished third most recently in the Charles Town Oaks after pressing the early pace.

"She tried hard," said trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. "We were in the three path on the first turn, and from there, you're dead.

"We actually made the lead straightening away for home, but the winner was right behind us and went right on by."

* The ReRun Charity Golf Tournament takes place Sept. 28 at the Pebble Creek Golf Club in Colts Neck, N.J. Proceeds assist ReRun's efforts to find adoptive homes for Monmouth's retired racehorses. More information and reservations are available from Lisa Ellison at (732) 337-4118.